Bulldog of a Beaver.Byline: Bob Rodman The Register-Guard
CORVALLIS - His first job at Oregon State, in 1998, took guts. And there was no glory. None at all.
Bob De Carolis was told to save the university's athletic department from financial ruin by digging the Beavers out of $12.5 million in debt.
Then OSU's associate athletic director Athletic director (commonly, "athletics director") is a position at many American colleges and universities, as well as in larger high schools and middle schools, which oversees the work of the coaches and related staff involved in intercollegiate or interscholastic athletic of internal operations, De Carolis went after all that red ink red ink Health administration A popular term for financial losses. Cf in the Black. . By the time he was named OSU's director of athletics in 2002, Oregon State was writing its checks in black.
"I needed someone who could navigate the financial thing we had," said Mitch Barnhart who, among his first decisions as the OSU (Open Source UNIX) Refers to the Unix variants that are maintained as open source, which were primarily BSD Unix and Linux until Sun made its Solaris operating system open source in 2005. athletic director from 1998-2002, hired De Carolis.
"Bob was instrumental in creating a plan to survive financially and compete successfully in a difficult Pac-10 Conference."
That done, De Carolis jumped into the middle of blueprints for an expanded football stadium, tackled projects for other facilities, made some attention-getting hires and did it all his way, with an attack mentality that left little room for the soft-sell.
He now is in the fifth year of his first athletic directorship, the point man for Oregon State's $38 million operating budget Noun 1. operating budget - a budget for current expenses as distinct from financial transactions or permanent improvements
budget items, operating cost, operating expense, overhead - the expense of maintaining property (e.g. as well as all things athletic - from coaches to conduct, fundraising to facilities and media to moguls - when it comes to the Beavers.
He has sat behind his Gill Coliseum Groundbreaking for the Gill Coliseum Annex project is scheduled for March, with a completion date of early 2008. The Annex will be located between Gill Coliseum and the Tommy Prothro Football Complex. office desk, the one across which deals for more than $130 million in facility improvements have been contracted in the last decade.
He has helped negotiate contracts for his head coaches that currently total more than $2 million annually.
He has endured a State Legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
He came up with the money to keep baseball coach Pat Casey Pat Casey (b. 1959 in McMinnville, Oregon) is the head coach for the Oregon State Beavers baseball team. He is best known for winning the 2006 College World Series for the Beavers' first-ever baseball National Championship. at Oregon State after the Beavers won the 2006 national championship, and how good does that decision look now, with the Beavers celebrating another?
On the other hand, there are OSU men's basketball fans not too pleased with De Carolis for his continued support of coach Jay John, hired by Barnhart, with records of 28-62 in the Pac-10 and 66-85 overall.
Comes with the territory.
"Of course you want to be an athletic director or a head coach in this business, but you also need to be in a situation in which you can be successful," said De Carolis, admitting that he faced a tough decision when offered the job as OSU's 12th director of athletics.
"Because if you're not successful, you may not get another chance."
When the chances began
An Italian born in south Philadelphia South Philadelphia, nicknamed "South Philly," is the section of Philadelphia bounded by South Street to the north, the Delaware River to the east and south, and the Schuylkill River to the west. South Philadelphia is coterminous with the zip codes 19145, 19146, 19147, and 19148. , the 54-year-old "Bobby D" was one of Al and Rita De Carolis' four sons. His late father was a sheet metal mechanic, his mother a seamstress. His father often worked two jobs; neither parent graduated from high school, and they wanted him to "go to college and to not think that an hourly raise of 15 cents was a good thing."
"We weren't poor, but we didn't have a lot," De Carolis said. "The one thing my dad always talked about was working hard at whatever you do, because you never know who will be watching, and that's how you will be judged. ... I want to be known as someone who worked hard and made things better for those who followed me."
De Carolis "came from a blue-collar family," said Michael Stevenson, an executive associate athletic director at Michigan who knew De Carolis during the latter's 17 years as a coach and administrator for the Wolverines.
"He knows to be successful, you have to work hard, and work smart."
Which De Carolis has done, whether playing stickball in the alleys of Philadelphia, playing football at Bloomsburg (Pa.) State, freeing his fraternity from financial deficit, working in the business office at UMass while attending graduate school, coaching softball softball, variant of baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field. Invented (1888) in Chicago as an indoor game, it was at various times called indoor baseball, mush ball, playground ball, kitten ball, and, because it was also played by women, ladies' at Michigan or dictating the fate of a mega-million-dollar department of athletics.
"I learned from every athletic director for whom I worked," said De Carolis, who earns more than $360,000 a year. "The good and the bad, the how to do it and the how not to do it. ...
"We're playing games and hopefully we're developing leaders. At the end of the day, some of the issues are not end-of-the-world stuff. We can work them out.
"We could be a National Guard member in Iraq or Afghanistan, or have a family member fighting cancer."
"If you want to know how a program or organization is doing, look to see if it is building," said LaVonda Wagner, hired two years ago as the Oregon State women's basketball Women's basketball is one of the few games which developed in tandem with men's. It became popular, spreading from the east coast of the United States to the west coast, in large part via women's colleges. coach.
"Is there any movement? And under Bob's tenure, there has been a lot of movement."
The success of the football program under former coach Dennis Erickson Dennis Erickson (born March 24, 1947, in Everett, Washington) is the head coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils football team. He has been the head coach of six college football programs and two NFL franchises. - a bowl game for the Beavers in 1999 for the first time since the 1964 season, a Fiesta Bowl The Fiesta Bowl, now sponsored by Tostitos tortilla chips (a Frito-Lay product), is a United States college football game played annually since 1971. Originally, the game was hosted in Tempe, Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium where it remained until 2006. win in 2000 with an 11-1 record and a No. 4 national ranking - poured the foundation for what has become a $115-million expansion of Reser Stadium History and use
The stadium was built in 1953 and named in honor of Portland businessman Charles T. Parker, who played a significant role in the initial fundraising. The stadium was renamed in 1999 to honor one of the school's major athletic donors, the Reser family, owners of as well as the construction of an annex to the department's basketball arena, Gill Coliseum.
With De Carolis either guiding or assisting in the financial challenge, OSU has built a $12-million indoor practice facility, improved Gill at a cost of $3.5 million, is continuing with a $4-million refurbishing of the baseball facility, constructed a softball complex for $1.5 million and ponied up $200,000 for soccer fields.
"We've got great coaches and great kids," De Carolis said. "We can compete in this conference. Now we're trying to get them the tools to do so, and that's the hard part.
"We have two major facilities we have to fix, plus a ton of other things. We made up a lot of ground over the past 10 years, but we still have a lot more to do."
Said Riley: "I think Bobby D has played a major role in changing the face of Oregon State athletics. There's the facilities, for sure, but he also has set the bar high for the coaches and the student-athletes."
To free itself from debt, Oregon State had to lay off some staff members.
"I've made a conscious effort to not get too close to anybody on a personal level with coaches and staff," De Carolis said, "because I may have to fire them someday."
It happened, more than once.
"Not everybody can handle the truth," he said, "but sometimes you have to be careful how you deliver the news."
Stevenson said De Carolis "is very direct in his communications. He tells you how it is and how he feels it is. Sometimes, people don't want that message, but Bob won't sugar-coat it, and the majority of the time he is right."
De Carolis took a chance on Riley, who coached at OSU in 1997-98 before leaving for the NFL's San Diego Chargers
"That took some guts," Riley said. "I was the guy who left, and there were people who were not sure about doing that again."
De Carolis stood by Riley when the football coach was under fire for OSU's slow start last season, then re-signed Riley this past spring, in the aftermath of OSU's Sun Bowl victory, this time to a five-year contract extension that pays the coach an annual base salary of $850,000 and, with incentives, could generate an estimated $1.24 million this year.
"There is a financial burden," De Carolis said, "but we have to pay these people."
The baseball coach, too.
Casey has now directed the Beavers to three straight College World Series appearances, and when the Beavers won the national title last year, Notre Dame Notre Dame IPA: [nɔtʁ dam] is French for Our Lady, referring to the Virgin Mary. In the United States of America, Notre Dame came calling.
But it was De Carolis who answered, when he signed Casey to a 10-year deal worth nearly $300,000 per year, including incentives.
Retained and rewarded, Casey rewarded OSU with another national title last month.
In addition to bringing back Riley and bringing in Wagner, De Carolis has also made high-profile hires in wrestling coach Jim Zalesky Jim Zalesky is the college wrestling coach for the Oregon State Beavers and a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the Beavers, he was the coach of the University of Iowa wrestling team from 1998-2006. , gymnastics gymnastics, exercises for the balanced development of the body (see also aerobics), or the competitive sport derived from these exercises. Although the ancient Greeks (who invented the building called a gymnasium coach Tanya Chaplin and volleyball coach Taras Liskevych.
"Bob has had a pulse on what is going on, what has needed to be done," said Washington State AD Jim Sterk, whose department faces similar challenges. "I am amazed a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. at what he and Oregon State have accomplished."
As much as the retention of Riley and Casey earned De Carolis praise, there has been an opposite reaction to his decision to retain John, who earns $450,000 to direct a men's basketball program that has had just one winning season in the past 17 years.
The Beavers, 11-21 last season in John's fifth year, including 3-15 in the Pac-10, have an aging facility, declining interest and a roster in transition. While De Carolis has remained in John's corner, there is an understanding that a turnaround is needed, and soon.
"He's the guy in charge," John said, admitting he has to be careful with his comments considering "the present situation.
"When you get to know him, you learn that Bob stands for something and he is not afraid to exert that and keep pushing forward. He likes people and he likes his job, and he will keep shuffling the deck until he gets what he wants and goes with it."
Amid the concern over John, De Carolis has had discussions with those who disagree with Verb 1. disagree with - not be very easily digestible; "Spicy food disagrees with some people"
hurt - give trouble or pain to; "This exercise will hurt your back" his support for the coach, including two former Oregon State basketball stars - Charlie Sitton Charles E. (Charlie) Sitton (born July 3, 1962 in McMinnville, Oregon) is a retired American basketball player. Oregon State career
A 6' 8" forward, he played high school basketball at McMinnville High School and college basketball for Oregon State from 1981 to 1984. and Steve Johnson Steve Johnson is the name of:
"We've had our conversations and Bob has listened," said Sitton, whose Tualatin-based restaurant is the primary caterer for OSU's East Grandstand stadium club during the football season. "His job is to do what he thinks needs to be done. He has an opinion and so do we.
"But I don't mind that he gives an honest answer. I'd rather have that than beat around the bush and have me read between the lines Between the lines can refer to:
"I have to admire that."
More politic pol·i·tic
1. Using or marked by prudence, expedience, and shrewdness; artful.
2. Using, displaying, or proceeding from policy; judicious: a politic decision.
3. comments, perhaps, than some former Beavers made in interviews with The Oregonian earlier this year. "If he (De Carolis) is not going to change the head coach, then tell me, what change is the head coach going to make in himself?" asked former OSU player Bill McShane.
Said Johnson: "I'm sick and tired of the cop-outs."
With typical bluntness, De Carolis bristled bris·tle
1. A stiff hair.
2. A stiff hairlike structure: the bristles of a wire brush.
v. bris·tled, bris·tling, bris·tles
v.intr. at the criticism, asking, "What have those guys done in the last five to eight years to help out?"
The truth, and nothing but
"Bob is an East Coast guy, very direct, up-front and honest," said Wagner, who earns $220,000 per season and is going into the third year of a five-year contract to coach a program that hasn't reached the NCAA Tournament NCAA Tournament can mean:
"If you don't want to hear the truth, don't ask him."
Said De Carolis, "Sometimes the listening skills of people are not the greatest."
Blunt and direct, he said, is "the way you walk out of a meeting and know where you are."
Mike Corwin, who left the OSU athletic department's administration in 2004, two years after De Carolis became AD and after 23 years with the Beavers, was on the committee that recommended hiring De Carolis.
"He's not the glad-hander that Mitch was, but business savvy-wise, there are not many in the country who are better," Corwin said.
Bert Babb, a longtime booster of Oregon State athletics, admitted his involvement with the Beavers has diminished in recent years.
"Bob has done some good things, but it's a tough position to be in," said Babb, a Eugene businessman. "There's always some who love you, some who hate you and some in between.
"But he is not a public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most guy. He needs to meet with boosters, tell them what's going on What's Going On is a record by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. Released on May 21, 1971 (see 1971 in music), What's Going On reflected the beginning of a new trend in soul music. , but he makes decisions on his own."
And personal matters
De Carolis is not quite 5-feet-8. He weighs a shade more than 200 pounds. His dark complexion complexion /com·plex·ion/ (kom-plek´shun) the color and appearance of the skin of the face.
The natural color, texture, and appearance of the skin, especially of the face. is highlighted by the hair-free top of his head. Occasionally, he dons eyeglasses eyeglasses or spectacles, instrument or device for aiding and correcting defective sight. Eyeglasses usually consist of a pair of lenses mounted in a frame to hold them in position before the eyes. and looks every bit the businessman he is.
Seldom is he without the Oregon State look: Orange tie, an OSU pin hugging the lapel of his sport coat, or that surly Benny Beaver logo stitched to a shirt.
The job does its best to tug constantly at De Carolis, but he's learned to loosen its grip.
Last winter, he began delving into "hot yoga," a 90-minute session of yoga poses in a room with a temperature at 102 degrees. He takes the heat, literally, four or five days a week.
"You sweat like heck and you don't think about work," De Carolis said. "When it's over, you're re-energized, relaxed ... until you get that first e-mail or phone call."
More than anything, De Carolis has made sure his family - his wife, Sandra, and daughters Lyndsay, Lauren and Hayley - is not forgotten, and that the family does not forget him.
"He has made it a priority to be part of our lives," Sandra De Carolis said. "Our daughters understand that he can't be there all the time, but he has not neglected his family."
In fact, the Beavers made two football trips last season - to Stanford and UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX - without De Carolis on board.
"My oldest daughter was a senior in high school, and I was not going to miss her soccer games," said De Carolis, who also coaches his daughters' softball team. "Some people were astounded a·stound
tr.v. a·stound·ed, a·stound·ing, a·stounds
To astonish and bewilder. See Synonyms at surprise.
[From Middle English astoned, past participle of astonen, , but I was not going to those games."
That "Philly tough guy" image takes a beating, too.
"I saw him as a hard guy when I first met him," Sandra De Carolis said, "but he is the perfect husband and father. I am amazed at his compassion and love."
And, by the way, athletic directors do cry, because De Carolis did when the baseball team won the College World Series last year, and when the football team beat No. 3 Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, , and when it won the Sun Bowl.
"He gets tears in his eyes because those events are the culmination of all the efforts of those people," Sandra De Carolis said.
Bob De Carolis' efforts at OSU were foreshadowed by a visit to Corvallis in 1994, when De Carolis still worked at Michigan and came West to see an old friend, wrestling coach Joe Wells.
As he drove out of town, De Carolis spotted a giant rainbow.
"It was like someone had painted the thing in the sky and I almost ran off the road," he said. "I'm one who is big on signs in your life, that there is a plan for you. I think that was a sign."
Four years later, De Carolis, hired by Barnhart, moved to Corvallis.
"Mitch always wished there had been a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow," De Carolis said, "but there wasn't.
"We're always walking a tightrope here, we're always on the edge. But there is no going back to the old days when we were $12 million in the hole."
At least, not now. Not on De Carolis' watch.