Colorado State's football program attained previously unknown heights during head coach Sonny Lubick's 15 seasons. During that time, Lubick created a standard for excellence never before evident during the 115-year history of the football program. Since taking over a program that had won just 47 games in 11 seasons with just one bowl appearance prior to his arrival in 1993, Lubick guided the Rams' program to elite status nationally. For example:
Colorado State won or shared six conference titles from 1994-2007, more than any other Mountain West Conference member over that period;
CSU played in nine bowl games, more than any other league institution from 1994-2007;
The Rams ranked among the Top 20 teams in the nation in total victories since 1997;
Lubick ranked among the Top 20 NCAA Division I FBS active coaches in career wins at the end of 2007;
Colorado State placed among the leaders in MWC victories since the conference came into being in 1999;
The Rams seven times during Lubick's tenure won eight or more games in a season. Four times - the only four times in school history - CSU won 10 or more games under Lubick.
Lubick ushered in by far the most successful era in the history of CSU football. His fingerprint can be seen on the results on the field as well as at the turnstiles. Not only have the Rams been perennial postseason competitors, but nine of the top 10 seasons in total attendance in school history came during his reign. Additionally, eight of the 10 largest single-game crowds in CSU history came during his time at the helm. Lubick also joined another elite list of coaches including Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, and Frank Beamer, in 2005 as active Division I-A coaches with 100 or more career wins at their current institutions. The group includes only nine members. Interest and support of CSU's program had never been greater. The 2006 season marked the completion of an 18-month project to renovate and expand Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. The project was made possible through a $15.2 million gift by the Bohemian Foundation, with a caveat the stadium's playing surface be named in Lubick's honor. The project included the installation of 4,400 new seats, the renovation of the press box and club seating area, and the addition of 12 luxury suites - each of which were sold prior to the beginning of the 2005 season. Prior to the 2006 season, a new artificial playing surface was installed to complete the renovation. The success enjoyed by the Rams' program under Lubick's watch touched the entire athletic department. For instance, during his tenure, CSU was able to:
Renovate and expand the stadium ($15.2 million).
Acquire a $200,000 gift from former CSU all-star and current NFL All-Pro linebacker Joey Porter, who played for Lubick in the 1990's and a gift of $75,000 from former defensive end and 10-year NFL veteran Brady Smith for program enhancements.
Secure funding and build the McGraw Athletic Center ($5.5 million), completed in 1999, which houses offices for every athletic department staff member, includes an academic support center, athletic marketing, promotions, and ticket offices, and breakout rooms for football position meetings, as well as a 125-seat auditorium for team meetings and special functions.
Renovate Moby Arena ($4.5) million in 1998 as part of the McGraw Center project.
Those projects alone total more than $25 million, made possible in large part by the success that CSU's football program enjoyed since Lubick's arrival. Lubick cared deeply about the people around him, particularly the program's student-athletes and his staff members. He carefully built CSU's programs into one of the nation's best using a time-tested philosophy:
Responsibility: Each member of the Rams' program was responsible for his actions and the impact on the success of the team.
Character: Lubick placed a premium on student-athletes who display integrity and honesty.
Respect: Earning respect among peers, fans, and colleagues remained more important to the veteran coach than gaining popularity from those groups.
Perspective: Remaining on an even keel, win or lose. Lubick had those in the program focused on the goal ahead.
Lubick's impact was felt not only in the football program or athletics department, but across the university and throughout the community:
He was named the Sports Illustrated Coach of the Year in 1994 after leading CSU to a 10-2 record.
In 2003, Lubick was named one of four national finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of Distinction Award for his community service work.
Also in 2003, the Rams' coach was recognized by the American Diabetes Assocation-Colorado Chapter as "Father of the Year."
He was an annual contributor and participant in several local and national charities including St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
In May of 2005, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Fort Collins Board of Realtors;
Lubick and his family were honored by a local charitable organization in the winter of 2006 for their commitment and dedication to the northern Colorado community.
In January of 2007, Lubick was named the Collins Award winner, given annually to a local figure that exemplifies leadership and service to the Fort Collins Community by the local chamber of commerce.
Lubick remained staunch in his belief a family approach was one of the reasons for Colorado State's success during his tenure. Four of his 2007 coaching staff members - Tom Ehlers, Darrell Funk, Dan Hammerschmidt, and his son Marc - either played or coached under Lubick during his first stint in Fort Collins or his return beginning in 1993. Marc joined the staff in 2005 after time with the St. Louis Rams. He replaced his older brother, Matt, who departed for a position at the University of Mississippi. Assistants Mick Delaney and Dave Arnold both coached alongside Lubick at Montana State. Steve Stanard and James Ward had previous ties to long-time Lubick colleagues, while Jessie Williams was on the same coaching staff as Matt Lubick. Further testament to his belief in a family atmosphere took place after every home game. After conducting his postgame news conference and greeting wife Carol Jo, Lubick always was embraced by his three young grandchildren - Matthew, William and Emma - children of his daughter, Michelle, and son-in-law Gerard Boyle. Lubick's smile while embracing his three youngest Rams fans reflected the same happiness CSU supporters had come to appreciate during the most successful era in school history.