Bills assistant Fairchild to return to CSU as coach

Updated: December 12, 2007, 8:57 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Sonny Lubick was Steve Fairchild's mentor at Colorado State. Now, the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator is Lubick's replacement with the Rams.

Fairchild, a former Colorado State quarterback and assistant coach, was hired as the school's 19th head coach Wednesday.

"We are pleased that Steve Fairchild, with his significant coaching expertise and history at Colorado State, is going to return to his roots as a champion for our football program," Colorado State president Larry Edward Penley said in a statement released by the Fort Collins school. "His positive reputation precedes him."

Lubick, who was let go last month after 15 mostly successful seasons with Colorado State, was in Montana for family reasons and couldn't be immediately reached for comment. His son, Marc, an assistant coach for his father, said his dad is pleased with the decision.

"He likes Steve and is impressed with him," Marc Lubick told The Associated Press. "The hire makes sense. I think Steve was the best guy they could've gotten. He worked well with my dad and he's been successful at the next level."

In a statement released by Colorado State, Fairchild said, "I am honored by the opportunity to return to Colorado State University as head coach. This is an exciting time for my family, as well as myself."

Fairchild has already started to assemble his staff, bringing back former Colorado State assistant Larry Kerr as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator, and Marc Lubick in a role to be determined. Fairchild will also keep Tom Ehlers in the position of director of football operations.

The 49-year-old Fairchild was a member of Lubick's first staff at Colorado State, along with Kerr. Fairchild was the quarterbacks coach from 1993-96 before taking over as the Rams' offensive coordinator for four seasons. Colorado State won five conference titles in his eight years as an assistant coach.

He left for Buffalo in 2001 to serve as the Bills' running backs coach for two seasons. Fairchild is in his second season as the Bills' offensive coordinator after tutoring under Mike Martz with the St. Louis Rams.

"I really think a lot of Steve Fairchild," Bills coach Dick Jauron said after practice Wednesday. "You never want to lose a tremendous coach. But you do want him to advance."

Fairchild won't leave the Bills until after the season. The Bills (7-6) are in the middle of the AFC playoff race with three games remaining in the regular season.

"I do appreciate CSU and the Bills for allowing me to finish out my responsibilities here in Buffalo prior to assuming my new role," Fairchild said.

Colorado State officials understand his commitment to the Bills.

"We knew from the outset and were comfortable with the dedication he has to his team," said CSU athletic director Paul Kowalczyk, who will have an introductory teleconference with Fairchild on Thursday. "It is that type of value system -- commitment, integrity, honesty, accountability and responsibility -- that had him at the top of our list since the beginning."

The Rams are borrowing a page from Mountain West Conference rival Air Force by hiring an NFL assistant coach to take over the program.

The Falcons hired Troy Calhoun last year after the retirement of Fisher DeBerry. Calhoun, who was lured away from the Houston Texans, was the league's coach of the year after guiding the Falcons to a 9-3 record and a spot in the Armed Forces Bowl.

The Rams are hoping the approach serves them well, too.

"He [Fairchild] has had a reputation of developing young players and helping them reach their maximum potential," Kowalczyk said. "That is an attractive trait in our program."

Colorado State linebacker Jeff Horinek was just thankful the process was complete, and the Rams know who will be running the show next season.

"He has a solid reputation," Horinek said of Fairchild. "He seems to be a good fit."

Sonny Lubick was asked by Kowalczyk to step down a few days before the Rams' season-ending win over Wyoming on Nov. 23. But Lubick refused because he did not want to quit on his team.

He led the Rams to nine bowl games and at least a share of conference titles in six seasons, compiling a 108-74 record along the way.

Lubick has been asked to stay on with the school as a fundraiser, but hasn't made a decision yet.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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