CORVALLIS - Bob De Carolis, who has been senior associate athletic director at both Oregon State University and the University of Michigan, was named today as OSU's new athletic director.
De Carolis' integrity, track record for fiscal management, strong relationships with staff and alumni, and particularly his vision for the future impressed the screening committee and OSU President Paul Risser.
"For the last four years, Bob De Carolis has been a steadying and unifying force who has worked quietly behind the scenes to help our student-athletes and our athletic department achieve tremendous success," Risser said.
"He also has an exciting vision for the future of OSU," Risser added, "and I am fully confident that he can help us get to the next level - including the construction of an annex to Gill Coliseum and the expansion of Reser Stadium."
De Carolis will take over for Mitch Barnhart, who resigned in July to accept a position as athletic director at the University of Kentucky. One of his first orders of business, he said, is to address the expansion of OSU's facilities.
"The stadium project is the cornerstone of our future successes," De Carolis said. "It gives us new revenue streams to compete in the conference - in all of our sports - and it will position us over time to mitigate the reliance of athletics on funding from the university."
As senior associate athletic director, De Carolis developed and executed the financial recovery plan that has helped the OSU athletic department reduce a $12.5 million accumulated deficit to less than $5 million. At the same time, the department was able to not only maintain competitive teams, but had its first winning football seasons in nearly three decades.
De Carolis was part of a three-member search team that interviewed and hired OSU football coach Dennis Erickson, and new men's basketball coach Jay John.
And he has spearheaded the feasibility study for a plan that would expand and renovate Reser Stadium - the smallest football stadium among Pacific-10 Conference schools. What sold the screening committee, however, was the overwhelming groundswell of support for De Carolis from people on- and off-campus, according to Larry Roper, OSU's vice provost for Student Affairs, who chaired the 11-member committee.
"We were inundated with calls and letters of support - not only from the coaches and staff in the athletic department, but from OSU alumni, fans, and friends of the university," Roper said. "They all said that we had the best person for the job already on board. It was a truly impressive and genuine show of support for him personally and professionally."
Roper said the screening committee interviewed five candidates and that De Carolis stood out in presenting his vision for a bright OSU athletic future.
"He presented a bold leadership initiative that we all believe will result in the continued growth and success of OSU athletics," Roper said, "including the academic success of our student-athletes, fiscal management, facilities enhancement and the performance of both coaches and athletes."
De Carolis said he would like the athletic department to enhance the academic, athletic and social responsibility of OSU student-athletes.
"We'd like to raise the bar of expectations for our student-athletes," he said, "and work with them to give back to the community."
De Carolis is a 1976 graduate of Bloomsburg State College in Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in business education. He also has a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts in sports management.
He joined the athletic staff at the University of Michigan in 1979 as an administrative assistant, and within a year was promoted to assistant business manager. At the same time, he was handed the reins of coaching the women's softball team at the university. He coached the Wolverines for four years and took them to a third place national finish at the AIAW tournament.
Meanwhile, De Carolis had begun working his way up through the administrative ranks in the UM athletic department. He was promoted to business manager in 1983, and to assistant athletic director for business in 1987. In 1990, he was named associate athletic director for internal operations, and in 1996, senior associate athletic director.
As senior associate athletic director, he was responsible for all of the athletic facilities and venues at Michigan, including strategic planning for capital improvements. He led the department's contract negotiations with Michigan's corporate partners, including Nike and Pepsi, that resulted in lucrative contracts. He also coordinated development of a master plan to expand Michigan Stadium and spearheaded a $2 million gift-brick program for the stadium.
De Carolis joined the OSU athletic department in 1998 as associate athletic director of internal operations, and a year later was promoted to senior associate athletic director.
One of his first tasks was to work with Barnhart on a new season ticket marketing plan for football that helped increase the season ticket base from 6,500 to 23,000 in just three years. He also helped negotiate a new broadcasting/multimedia rights contract that increased revenues by 75 percent in the first year. De Carolis also worked on developing the plans for the recently completed Truax Indoor Practice Facility and the new softball complex.