Three with CSU ties to enter Colorado Sports Hall of Fame
April 13, 2009
By Matthew Pucak
DENVER, Colo. -- A trio of inductees into the 2009 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame will have a connection with Colorado State University, as the 2009 class includes legendary coach Sonny Lubick, groundbreaking athlete John Mosley, and donor Jerry McMorris.
Those three represent half of the six inductees who will be honored at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Tuesday at the Marriot City Center in Denver. Tickets to the event are sold out.
In his career at CSU, Lubick oversaw the most successful period in CSU football history, winning 108 games and leading the Rams to six conference championships. Lubick coached the Rams to nine bowl appearances, especially impressive considering that the Rams had only been to two bowl games in more than 100 years of football history prior to his arrival.
In the 1994 season, just his second season at CSU, Lubick was named Sports Illustrated’s Coach of the Year after leading the Rams to a 10-2 record, the WAC championship and a Holiday Bowl berth. The 1994 season was highlighted by a 21-16 upset victory at No. 6 Arizona, a team predicted by many to win the national championship that year. Lubick would lead the Rams football program to unparalleled success in his 15 seasons, winning eight games or more in seven seasons and leading the Rams to all four of the 10-win seasons in school history.
While Lubick’s on-field legacy is impressive, his work off the field has been equally important. He and his family have garnered multiple awards for their work with charitable organizations and in the community. Most recently, Lubick and his wife Carol Jo were honored with 2009 Hope Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Colorado Chapter.
Lt. Col. John Mosley
Mosley was the first African-American athlete in modern CSU history, and the first in the Mountain States Conference. He played football from 1939-42 for the team, then known as the Colorado A&M Aggies, under legendary CSU head coach Harry Hughes, playing three seasons as a fullback and another as an all-conference guard.
Mosley was also a standout wrestler for the Aggies. Mosley not only managed to earn success in athletics under difficult circumstances, but he also earned respect off the field, being named student body vice president twice while attending CSU.
During World War II, he tried to join the United States Army Air Corps, but was initially unsuccessful. Instead of giving up, Mosley continued to fly his own training runs around Fort Collins and fought to get a chance to fly, eventually earning the right to train with the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron at the Tuskegee Institute. Mosley, who earned the rank of lieutenant colonel, was scheduled to head to the Pacific Theatre, but the war ended before he was shipped out. Mosley served 25 more years in the military following the war, before retiring from the Army in 1970.
Mosley’s never-give-up attitude is something of which he is especially proud.
“I think the most important thing for black athletes, and for blacks in the military, at the time was that was that everything we tried to do, we had to succeed if we wanted other blacks to have an opportunity to do anything of any significance,” said Mosley. “It was an appealing challenge.”
Amazingly, Mosley said he grew up as a member of a youth singing quartet in Denver, and he will become the third member of that group to be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Mosley follows Olympic medalists Jerome Biffle and Adam Berry, who were previously enshrined. The honor was not one that he expected.
“It was quite a surprise and I am very humbled that I was considered for this honor,” said Mosley. “I certainly hope that I can serve as an inspiration for youth, that if you try very hard to do something, you can succeed.”
Mosley and Lubick were both inducted together into the Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
McMorris’ son Mike overcame several physical challenges to be involved in video operations for CSU football as a student at CSU in the 1980s. Since then, McMorris had been an avid supporter of CSU athletics.
The McMorris Administrative Office Suite inside the Fum McGraw Athletic Center is named after the family, due to its generous donation.
Best known for his instrumental role in presiding over the Colorado Rockies baseball franchise in the early 1990s, McMorris served as president and CEO of the organization for nine years.
Also being inducted Tuesday will be hockey great Ralph Backstrom, former Evergreen High School coach Laurice “Lo” Hunter and former Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith. Carmelo Anthony will also be honored as Pro Athlete of the Year.
CSU graduate Susie Wargin from KUSA-TV, Channel 9 in Denver, will be among the guest presenters at the event