Bills assistant Fairchild to return to CSU as coach

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

"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

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.