Colorado State University Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk said Monday that any discussions about retirement with Head Football Coach Sonny Lubick have focused on the expectation that Lubick would continue to play a senior leadership role in the Rams sports program.
“CSU President Larry Penley has made it very clear that Sonny Lubick will always have a place at Colorado State University,” Kowalczyk said. “Sonny’s reputation, record and service to CSU have clearly earned that. Any discussions we’re having at this point are focused on his plans and what he’d like to do in the next phase of a very distinguished career.
“Sonny Lubick epitomizes what intercollegiate athletics should be about. He is a man of integrity, honesty, character and loyalty. He has established a legacy at Colorado State that will be among the most successful turnarounds in the history of any football program. He established a program that created expectations and was successful, and he did it the right way.”
Recent news reports have focused on discussions between Lubick and Kowalczyk about the possibility of Lubick’s retiring as head coach. Lubick, for whom the field at CSU’s Hughes Stadium is named, was hired in 1993. He led the Rams to nine bowl games with 108-74 record and ended his fourth straight non-winning season Friday with a Rams win over Wyoming in the celebrated Border War.
Kowalczyk noted that discussions related to personnel matters are private but he acknowledged discussing a number of issues with Lubick including how best to ease any transition for assistant coaches, health insurance issues for football program staff, and Lubick’s future role at CSU.
Kowalczyk said he has offered Lubick a position as senior associate athletic director, focused on fundraising and serving as a goodwill ambassador for Rams athletics. Additionally, Kowalczyk has proposed to Lubick paying his base coaching salary for the remaining two years on his contract. Lubick and his family will also receive health benefits. Assistant coaches would receive compensation for the next three months or until a time they secure another position.
Kowalczyk said Lubick exemplifies what CSU strives for in its athletics program: strong leadership and performance, as well as sportsmanship, ethics, and a focus on student success in the classroom and in competition.
“We celebrate and honor the legacy Sonny has established with fond memories and cherished moments,” Kowalczyk said. “He will long be remembered as an individual who put CSU’s program on the national map of college football. Most important, he will continue to be revered for who he is as a person, mentor, husband and father.”
Kowalczyk said his goal is to continue to build on that legacy.
“As athletic director, I am committed to building a winning program that serves our students and Colorado well, in the Lubick tradition,” Kowalczyk said. “The Board of Governors of the CSU System and the CSU student body have supported this goal the last two years with new funding for much-needed facilities and program enhancements. No one knows better than Sonny Lubick how critical it is that we dramatically improve donor and booster support for our team, and he is in a unique position to make that happen. As we move forward, it is my hope that Sonny will continue to play a prominent leadership role at the University, lending his energy and expertise to building a solid future for our football program and our student athletes.”’
Message From The President Of Colorado State.
"Sonny, Carol Jo, and their family have been outstanding ambassadors for Colorado State and Rams athletics for 14 years, and all of us at CSU respect and appreciate that," Penley said. "It is my clear expectation that this University will do right by Sonny Lubick in any negotiations about his future with the institution."
Recent news reports have focused on discussions between Lubick and Colorado State Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk about the possibility of Lubick's retiring as head coach. Lubick, for whom the field at CSU's Hughes Stadium is named, was hired in 1993. He led the Rams to nine bowl games with 108-74 record and ended his fourth straight non-winning season Friday with a Rams win over Wyoming in the celebrated Border War.
"Without Coach Lubick, the Board of Governors and I would not have had reason to make the tremendous investments in athletics that we have made. The foundation that Coach Lubick has provided for CSU justified the decision the Board and I have made to support a very significant increase in the athletics budget and the construction of two new athletics facilities."
Sonny's contributions to CSU are not limited to the playing field, however, Penley said. He noted that Lubick has helped to engender strong school spirit and a sense of campus pride, while also being active and engaged in the community.
"We've been very fortunate to have a coach like Sonny at the helm of our football program for a decade and a half," Penley said. "He has built a program based on character, teamwork, and student success, and he deserves to take great pride in the achievements of his team members and the team as a whole during his tenure. That's not something anyone at CSU takes lightly in an era when college athletics are frequently in the spotlight for negative reasons."
Penley said he was aware of the retirement negotiations, which were not unexpected given the program's record for the last four years. CSU students, boosters, and alumni have communicated to both Penley and Kowalczyk their growing frustration with the program's performance.
He said he instructed A.D. Kowalczyk to discuss the situation with Sonny and reach a mutually acceptable agreement that would honor Sonny's legacy and ensure his continued leadership on behalf of the institution.
"It is in no one's interest for Sonny to end his head coaching career feeling anything less than honored and valued for all he has done for our students and Rams athletics," Penley added. "If that is his perception, for whatever reason, then clearly Paul Kowalzczyk has some work to do in continuing to outline a successful future for our football program and Sonny's continued involvement with CSU."