When he steps on the green grass that bears his name at Hughes Stadium, his voice echoes with the authority of a general. His gridiron soldiers grant him the respect he’s earned after 35 years in the college football ranks, and he leads them dutifully into battle each fall weekend.
Sonny Lubick is coaching the Colorado State University Rams football team for his 13th season. Easily the most recognizable face around the university – maybe in all of Northern Colorado – he has become symbolic of CSU football through his list of achievements on and off the field.
“Sonny is a tireless worker,´ said Mark Driscoll, CSU athletic director. “He has genuine energy, too. It’s not some trumped-up enthusiasm, it’s just natural energy that people can feed off of.”
This energy has helped the 68-year-old Lubick lead his CSU teams to 95 victories in 12 seasons, including four seasons with 10 or more wins. His teams have earned eight bowl invitations and won or shared six conference titles, more than any other Mountain West Conference team.
“I worry, quite honestly, about alumni, supporters and the marketplace taking him for granted,” Driscoll said, “that he is always going to be here, that he is always just going to give us success. I worry that we have been spoiled a bit by all of his success.”
Since Lubick took over the program in 1993, Colorado State has appeared in 110 regional and national television games, where he is always seen on the sidelines in his trademark sunglasses.
Lubick’s success has helped to generate record attendance at Hughes Stadium, and led to the naming of “Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium,” a salutation that was granted in 2004.
The coach also has an enormous presence in the Northern Colorado community as well as on the field.
“He relishes the time to go read to elementary school students, and he has been involved in the past with the United Way campaign as an honorary chairman,´ said Gary Ozzello, CSU’s Sports Information Director. “I don’t know that there has ever been a cause that somebody presented to him that he didn’t accept. I have never heard him say ‘no’.”
In December 2003, Lubick was named one of four national finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of Distinction Award for his community service work and success with the Rams’ program. The same year, he was recognized by the American Diabetes Association’s Colorado Chapter as a Father of the Year. He is an annual contributor and participant in several local and national charities, including the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital campaign. In May 2005, the Fort Collins Board of Realtors named him their Citizen of the Year.
“First of all, with everything, I enjoy my job,” Lubick said. “I like breaking the stereotypes and instead focus on what is really important, including the players and coaches and the people I work with.”
Lubick said he tries his hardest not to get entrenched in negative publicity and instead focuses on the positive aspects of every game and every day.
“I enjoy when we have happy fans, and when we won those bowl games, there was a lot of pride around for the school and for the team,” he said. “I have fun with my job and I really enjoy working with the players and the coaches I have coached with.”