By Mark Knudson, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Dear Sonny Lubick,
It was a day that made you proud to be a CSU Ram: The unveiling of the brand new $20 million academic center and indoor football and basketball practice facility right there on campus, just across the street from the dorms I lived in all those years ago.
The place is state of the art. No longer does CSU trail its Mountain West Conference rivals (or its in-state rival for that matter) in facilities and amenities for coaches and student athletes. This ain’t no stinkin’ bubble. This place is awesome, and will be a huge advantage for recruiting an even better class of athlete to Fort Collins. The future is looking bright.
It was a beautiful day, and a large sun-baked crowd got to see and hear from some of the legends of CSU football. Current players wandered over for practice with big grins on their faces. Former players shook their heads in amazement. A gentleman named Frank Faucett, who played for Colorado A&M way back when the football team played at Christensen Field over on College Avenue, was there too, talking about when he played in the Raisin Bowl. Really. CSU administrators thanked everyone who had contributed for being there and pitching in, while the green and gold balloons rose to the sky. Cool stuff.
Where were you?
There was just one thing missing: You.
Listen, we all know things didn’t end like they should have for you at CSU. In a perfect world, you would have gone out on your terms, to the pomp and circumstance that you deserved. You built CSU into a nationally recognized football program … you put us on the map with old fashioned hard work and dedication.
In a smaller sense, I can relate to your feelings. My dismissal from the Colorado Rockies during the inaugural season wasn’t exactly how I envisioned ending my baseball playing career. Heck, I had flown home during the all star break one July and spent two days campaigning for the vote to build Coors Field. Later, I turned down two other free agent offers to sign with the expansion Rockies, knowing full well what I was getting into … just because I wanted to be a Rockie. After I left the team – on their terms, not mine – I was upset for a time, but after awhile, I decided it would better for me to move forward and do what I could to help the franchise that meant a lot to me. Jerry McMorris put me back to work in community relations a few weeks later.
Obviously, my importance to the Rockies pales in comparison to your importance to CSU. In more than a century of playing the game, no one person has meant more to Colorado State Rams football than Sonny Lubick. Everyone associated with the school wishes it could have ended better. But it didn’t. Nothing anyone can do to change that now. What’s done is done.
Stay a part of CSU
What should not be done, however, is Sonny Lubick’s association with Colorado State. You mean way too much to all of us to stay detached like this. We need you back. I know you were invited to the ceremony, and despite the lingering feelings, it would have been fantastic if you would have accepted and been there. Of all the ovations that afternoon, there’s no doubt the largest one would have been for you. It would have been a standing O.
I know that hard feelings are hard to move on from most times. No one blames you for the way you’ve felt. I’m just saying that maybe it’s time now to finally put all of that stuff behind you … let go and start anew. You could still help make CSU a better place, and help a lot of people that hold you in very high esteem. Steve Fairchild, a coach who honed his craft under your tutelage and who would love to continue to honor your legacy, is a Sonny Lubick guy, right? He brought back Larry Kerr, who was such an important part of your staff. Your son Marc is on the coaching staff. Heck, a whole lot of these kids that have jumped out to a 3-0 start are guys you recruited. Think they’d like to have you around, even if it was just a little bit?
They all play their games on Sonny Lubick Field, for Pete’s sake.
Please think about it. Maybe it’d be OK to let bygones be bygones. From top to bottom, everyone wants you back as part of the CSU family, sooner rather than later.
I have to amend one earlier statement. There were two people missing at the ceremony … Rich Bircumshaw would have loved it, too. It’s a shame we don’t get to hear him describe the new buildings in a way only he could have.
I feel pretty safe in saying that Rich would have wanted you to be there, too.
Mark Knudson is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and member of the 1993 Colorado Rockies. He writes sports column for the Denver Daily News. Respond to this column at email@example.com.
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