Lubick inks five-year deal to end career at CSU

It was only a matter of time, and on Thursday, CSU Athletic Director Jeffrey Hathaway finally announced the contract extension of head football coach Sonny Lubick. The five-year deal, which has been under discussion since the summer, assures that the most successful coach in school history will finish his career at CSU. It seemed as if only Lubick was surprised by the hoopla.

He first told the gathering in the Fum McGraw Athletic Center that his wife, Carol Jo, who was presented with flowers by Hathaway in appreciation for her dedication to the program, asked him to wear a tie. But he didn't think the occasion would call for such dress. He then said he didn't anticipate so many people showing up for the announcement.

Lubick later admitted that when he signed his first contract with CSU in 1993, he only thought he'd fulfill those first five years.

"I never expected I'd be here 10 years," Lubick said. "No else had success here, why would I?"

But since then, the coach has gone on to win five conference titles, make six bowl appearances, and become one of only 18 other active coaches with 100 or more career victories. Lubick has an 86-32 career record at CSU with three regular season games and a guaranteed bowl berth remaining this year. The bowl appearance will be the Rams' fourth consecutive - a school record.

Probably the most notable accomplishment for Lubick, however, is the national attention he's brought to CSU. No school has appeared on ESPN's Thursday night football special more than CSU, and because of that, the Rams have received some unmatched national exposure.

This was one of Lubick's goals upon arriving in Fort Collins.

"The most important thing is people know who CSU is now," Lubick said.

And he aims to achieve more. Lubick said he plans to stay ambitious in non-conference scheduling and won't let his team slip back to where it once was.

"I feel we could jump into just about any conference in the nation and hang. I'm not saying we would win any conference, but I know we could hang," Lubick said.

As far as the terms of the contract go, Lubick does not hang with other coaches in the nation. At a base salary of $228,300, he is grossly underpaid. His new contract calls for more annuities and incentives, but Hathaway said the base will stay the same.

That fact was Lubick's wish, not Hathaway's demand. When a contract extension was first talked about over the summer, Hathaway asked Lubick what terms he wanted. The coach then came back with a proposal, and Hathaway obligingly accepted. Lubick didn't ask for more money, just more financial security in annuities.

Should Lubick have ever wanted more money, many say he could have taken head coaching jobs at Miami, where he was a defensive coordinator before coming to CSU, or Southern California, where he was sought after for some time.

It's never been about the money, though, which is why he's still at CSU. At Thursday's press conference, Lubick talked more about the chance to continue working with people he loves and the environment he's in than the fact he'll have more security. And it's a good thing he's never been about money, because CSU doesn't have much to offer.

Lubick consistently fields teams with players who have been rejected from top-notch schools, only to mold those players into a team that is competitive, if not better, than those big schools. It hasn't gone unnoticed.

"Sonny Lubick, members of his coaching staff, and the student-athletes have worked diligently through the years to make Colorado State one of the elite football programs in the nation," Hathaway said. "Without question, the job Coach Lubick has done at Colorado State is among the greatest in the history of Division I football."

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