|Dedicated to the Preservation of Athletic History at Colorado State University
|Can CSU Football History Repeat itself? Jim McElwain vs. Sonny Lubick
On December 22, 1992, the Denver Post headline read "Lubick Joins CSU in Title Mood". It
will be a bit of history repeating itself on December 13, 2011 when Jim McElwain is
introduced as the 20th head football coach in CSU history.
In 1992, Lubick was coming into a situation at Colorado State that had become toxic
following the firing of Earle Bruce, the former Ohio State hall of fame coach that had led the
Rams to their first bowl game in 42 years. Fast forward 19 years and McElwain finds
himself in a similar situation following the surprising firing of Athletic Director Paul
Kowalczyk and not so surprising firing of four-year coach Steve Fairchild after three 3-9
seasons at his alma mater.
That is not where the historic irony ends.
Lubick, a native of Montana was the Defensive Coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes where
he helped lead them to two national championships and was about to coach his last game
with Miami in the 1992 national championship game; against Alabama.
McElwain, a native of Montana has been the Offensive Coordinator for Alabama since 2008
where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to the 2009 national championship. McElwain will
coach his last game with Alabama in the national championship game against LSU.
Lubick may have lost that national championship game, but he did come to Fort Collins and immediately produced some of the greatest
CSU football teams in school history. Some of that success was based on excellent recruiting by Earle Bruce and some of it was based
on excellent coaching by Lubick and his staff. If we are to believe that the current players have the talent that has been talked about,
perhaps McElwain will inherit players that can produce immediately.
McElwain and Lubick's ironic twists of history do not end with being natives of Montana and coaching in the national championship
game prior to moving out west either.
Both coaches had a past coaching at Montana State University, connections with Jim Sweeney and both are personable (we think
McElwain is from what we have heard) and player's coaches. Both were born in the month of March and in the 2000 Liberty Bowl
Lubick's Rams beat Louiville where McElwain was the Quarterbacks and wide receivers coach for the Cardinals.
However, that is where the similarities between
the new coach and the legendary coach end.
McElwain has never been a head coach at the
collegiate level. Lubick had a brief stint with
Montana State in the 1970s.
Another factor is that McElwain is 49 years old
(50 when the Rams take to the gridiron in 2012)
and Lubick was 57. Although Lubick had offers
from other schools as the Rams continually
won, perhaps the age difference will make
McElwain think more about moving if another
offer comes in from a big school.
Finally, Lubick never had to contend with the
BCS and major changes in college football that
are happening today. With the hope of a new
stadium on campus, CSU might have a chance
to climb into BCS conferences like TCU and
Utah have, but it will be a more difficult climb
than what Lubick contended with in the 1990s
when Colorado State virtually created the
Mountain West Conference and split up the old
Only time will tell, but it is going to be fun
watching what happens next.
Welcome to Ram Country Coach McElwain!
|Sonny Lubick coached Rams football from 1993 to 2007 and posted 108
wins during his career at Colorado State.