Matt Lubick has been a hitchhiker throughout his coaching career, changing addresses just as often as he’s been ignored. That lack of attention would frustrate anyone else, but none of it seems to bother Lubick. Even if he’s traveling clear across the country for yet another coaching gig, he’s always had a warm home thanks to his father, Sonny.
“He would always make time for his family,” Lubick said of his father. “The more I’m in this profession, the more I really appreciate that. He’d come home after a 15-hour day and still find time to play catch and take me on road trips. Those are some of the best memories I have.”
Lubick’s father was the winningest coach in Colorado State history, and Lubick got to coach under Sonny for four years (2001-04). Now, Lubick is coaching wide receivers for Oregon, the seventh program in his 18-year career. While the Ducks’ first-year coach does wish he stayed put more often, he said there were positives from each experience. Lubick, as he does with many things, thanked his father for shaping that mindset.
Sonny has also helped his son as a coach, making it easier for Lubick to deal with difficult players. Lubick said he hasn’t encountered any such players in the Oregon receiving corps, though. In fact, he said, they might be the best group he’s ever coached.
For the receivers, the warm feeling is mutual.
“We love him,” sophomore receiver Bralon Addison said.
Junior wideouts Keanon Lowe and Eric Dungy shared similar sentiments, and they, like Addison, had permanent smiles on their faces when they discussed Lubick. They couldn’t help but laugh when talking about Lubick’s singing performance at a preseason team barbeque or the odd-looking back stretches he’ll do in practice.
“He’s always hunched over doing his little back stretches,” Lowe said. “We don’t know how it stretches his back, but I guess it works for him.”
The receivers said they constantly tease Lubick, whether it’s for his stretches, his voice, or his ties with Duke — he coached receivers there from 2010-2012. Dungy said one of the main reasons they make fun of Lubick is to let him feel part of the team, part of the family.
“If we joke around with you and make fun of you, that means we like you and care about you,” Dungy said. “You’re one of us.”
The wideouts all said Lubick is a student of the game and a focused competitor. But Addison doesn’t view Lubick solely as his coach.
“On the field, he’s all-business,” Addison said, “but off the field, he can be a kind of father figure to us to where he cares about our lives and not just football.”
Lubick said the same thing about his father. Sonny, Lubick said, would treat every assistant coach and player as if they were brothers or sons. So when Lubick claimed he doesn’t get bothered by his relative anonymity or his nomadic career, he pointed directly to his father’s lifelong caring nature as proof. In Lubick eye’s, he has to do a lot more hitchhiking if he wants to reach Sonny’s level.
“If I can be half the person he is, or half the coach he is,” Lubick said, “I’ll consider myself a success.”
Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415