They call him Bob the Builder.
Under his watch, Reser Stadium has been expanded and renovated. Gill Coliseum received a facelift, and the long-rumored basketball practice facility became a reality. The Omaha Room was added to Goss Stadium, and more changes are on the way. The Whyte Track & Field Center was built. And don’t forget the Sports Performance Center.
It’s quite an impressive list — and I’m probably forgetting some other facilities improvements.
And OSU athletic director Bob DeCarolis also has done a good job of working to eliminate the OSU athletic department’s debt, even though his fiscal prudence sometimes irks members of Beaver Nation because it sometimes means OSU is a step or two behind in the Pac-12 facilities race. Or prevents OSU for investing more of money in marketing.
However, DeCarolis’ legacy will be defined by one decision: Wayne Tinkle.
The majority of Beaver fans have not been happy with DeCarolis’ handling of OSU hoops. The contract extension to Jay John, the LaVonda Wagner fiasco, the hiring of Craig Robinson, the extending of Robinson’s contract, and then the back-and-forth on Robinson this offseason.
There’s been a lot of questionable hires and decisions when it comes to hoops — and it’s a tough pill for Beavers fans to swallow considering it wasn’t that long ago the Beavers were ranked in the top-10 in wins. Not to mention, OSU owes both Wagner and Robinson quite a chunk of money.
And while Scott Rueck appears to have been a great hire for the women’s team, men’s basketball is the second biggest money-maker, and should be the second biggest attraction, behind football. A cash-strapped athletic department such as OSU’a needs its men’s program to be successful and ultimately, generate as much money as possible.
The more the basketball program can support the athletic department, the more money there will be to pump into football, enabling OSU to better keep up in the arms race so to speak. That west grandstand at Reser, and the inside of Gill, aren’t going to renovate themselves.
That’s why if the Tinkle hire doesn’t pan out, DeCarolis’ overall body of work will be tainted. Most fans will remember his failure to turn around the basketball program, first and foremost, whether it’s unfair or not. And if he’s still at the helm of the athletic department, he should lose his job. Turning around a basketball program shouldn’t be this hard or take this long.
Tinkle was a solid hire, but considering some of the names that were associated with this coaching search, DeCarolis needs this one to end up a great one. Because it wasn’t the splashiest hire, a lot of fans are still in wait-and-see mode, and If the wins don’t come a couple seasons from now, it will appear DeCarolis misfired again.
So while all eyes will be on Tinkle, don’t forget that the pressure is on Bob DeCarolis as well. This is his defining moment as OSU athletic director. (RW)