Category Archives: Other Sports

Todd Stansbury Takes Off

Just as the Oregon State campus and community was getting settled in after the first day of fall term, Athletic Director Todd Stansbury shook things up by announcing his resignation.

Stansbury’s decision came as a sizable surprise, coming only a little more than a year after he took the job. Stansbury, pictured above with Oregon State University President Ed Ray at his introduction as Athletic Director, replaced Bob Decarolis, returning to Corvallis where he had previously worked for 9 years in the Athletic Department.

Stansbury’s abrupt and early departure isn’t a product of any problems at Oregon State though; Stansbury’s reason for leaving is to take the newly opened Athletic Director position at Georgia Tech, which is Stansbury’s alma mater. Stansbury also played football for the Yellow Jackets.

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Orange & Black Bits Part 1

Editor’s Note: From time to time, we will run roundups of OSU-related odds and bits. These posts will contain quick thoughts on news that don’t warrant an entire blog post, or honestly, we don’t know enough about to write.

Women’s Hoops: Losing to UCONN didn’t hurt the Beavers too much in the eyes of the voters — they finished the season ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Poll! It eclipses the program’s previous high of No. 6 prior to the NCAA Tournament. It’s the exclamation on a fantastic season and a springboard to next year. Also, this can only help in recruiting, hopefully, a lot with a certain prospect from California…

Football: Hey! We beat the Ducks at something finally. Jaydon Grant, son of former Blazers star Brian Grant, flipped from UO to the Beavers on Monday night. He’s a 6-2, 170 pound cornerback out of West Linn. While he’s walking on, if he has the heart, toughness, and determination that his father had, Jaydon will earn a scholarship quickly. He appears to be a good athlete and it must be noted last year was his only year playing high school football.

Baseball: Tough break losing ace Drew Rasmussen for the season, especially in a conference as loaded as the Pac-12. It appears Jake Thompson, Travis Eckert, and Luke Heimlich will make up the Beavers’ rotation. Eckert is coming off a Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week performance against UW during which he struck out a career-high nine batters in five innings. If the offense can step up and take pressure off, I think the Beavers can survive the loss of their ace.

Dam City Showcase: In my previous blog post, I lamented not feeling connected to the OSU football program. Saturday’s event in Hillsboro is a step in the right direction, combining a football scrimmage, BBQ, and OSU baseball game. Here’s all the details. Coach Andersen and several of his assistants are scheduled to speak during the BBQ. This event will also help engage Portland-Metro area fans more, hopefully.

Go Beavs!

DeCarolis Leaves Mixed Legacy

Let’s get it out of the way. I’ve never been the biggest Bob the Builder fan. Maybe I was spoiled by Mitch Barnhart — in the sense that I expect athletic directors to be charismatic and able  schmooze at will. Excitable and upbeat. A visionary, even if he/she is a little unrealistic.

As a result, I was never a fan of DeCarolis’ conservative nature and bean-counter approach. I’m all for being honest, real, and direct. But at times, it was hard get fired up about Beavers athletics during DeCarolis’ tenure.

There’s also the matter of some of his personnel moves. He could be extension-happy (Jay John) retain coaches too long (Craig Robinson), and what really bothered me was how  he handled the entire LaVonda Wagner situation. There’s no way what unfolded should’ve even gotten to that point — it should’ve been addressed much sooner.

But my biggest criticism of DeCarolis centered around the athletic department’s inability to market the Beavers effectively. There didn’t seem to be sense of urgency or desire to highlight successful programs and athletes, which could have helped with recruiting, as well as wooing the casual fan. OSU needs to win over more of those fans, not only to generate more revenue, but build excitement.

That said, a lot was accomplished during DeCarolis’ tenure — enough to easily counteract my views on his legacy (Hence the title of this post). He ran a clean ship and did so the right way, while working to reduce the department’s debt.

True to his nickname, a lot of things got built during his time at the helm  including the Truax Center, the OSU Softball Complex, the OSU Basketball Center. Meanwhile, Reser Stadium and Goss Stadium are among the facilities that got expanded. Most recently, plans were announced to renovate and expand the Valley Football Center.

And as of late, DeCarolis made outstanding hires in Scott Rueck (women’s hoops), Wayne Tinkle (men’s hoops), and Gary Andersen (football). Rueck has already proven to be a rousing success, while Tinkle and Andersen provide Beaver Nation with a lot of hope and excitement for the future.

To that end, I have to respect DeCarolis’ overall body of work and recognize that he’s leaving the athletic department in much better shape than it was when he stepped into the role. As a Beaver fan, that’s all I could’ve could’ve asked and wanted from the guy.

So Bob, thanks for all you did for Beavers athletics, Oregon State University, and the Corvallis community. I wish you the best in your future endeavors and know you will do it with class and integrity. Best wishes to your health and family. Go Beavs!

Finally, here’s a quick look at who could replace DeCarolis, based a little on logic and a lot of wishful thinking.

Likely hire: Mark Massari. Is in his second stint at OSU, this time serving as deputy athletic director, after spending six years as the University of California, Santa Barbara’s AD. He knows OSU and its strengths and weaknesses. He would provide a seamless transition and could continue the momentum that DeCarolis built recently. On the other hand, it would be nice to look outside of OSU and see who is interested in the position, because like Andersen, you just never know.

My preferred OSU-ties hire: Todd Stansbury. He’s in his fourth year as vice president and director of athletics at the University of Central Florida. Two years ago, he helped UCF transition from Conference USA to the ACC. The program also has made great strides academically. Having worked as associate AD at OSU from 2003-2013, he’s also very familiar with Beavers athletics. Disclaimer: I have a family connection to Stansbury, and have heard nothing but good things about his personality. He’s spoken of very highly.

Home run (pipe dream) hire: Greg Byrne. In his sixth year as Arizona’s AD, it seems very, very unlikely that Byrne would make what is most likely a lateral move. But OSU should swing for the fences, because he would be a freaking grand slam. Just look at his track record at Mississippi State and UA, they are nothing short of impressive — as well as at Oregon State, where he was an associate AD from 1998-2002. That, along with the fact he and his wife have Oregon roots, is why he might consider OSU. That said, don’t hold your breath.

Who do you think Oregon State’s next AD should be? What do you think about DeCarolis’ legacy?

Raju’s Early 2015 OSU Wishlist

Hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday season, and that 2015 is full of joy, good health, and fun memories for you. In the spirit of a new year, I put together an OSU Wishlist for the early part of 2015. So, in no particular order, here we go:

 Ducks fall short in NC. I can accept UO having a Heisman Trophy winning (especially a good kid such as Mariota), but if the Ducks win the national championship it would be devastating. And not just because I work in Eugene in an office filled with some of the biggest Ducks fans you’ll ever meet. So go OSU!

Beavs kick off Pac-12 play with wins. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have turned in very impressive preseason campaigns, with the women climbing into the top 10 in the country, and the men winning nine games. So it would be great for both squads to keep the momentum going with wins over UCLA and Oregon, respectively.

Staff closes strong on LOI day. Some in Beaver Nation are panicking about OSU’s recruiting class in wake of Mike Riley leaving. But decommits are to be expected anytime a coaching change happens. That’s also why the Beavers will end up with some surprises themselves. Like hopefully, a certain 4-star LB on Sunday.

Gymnastics makes NCAA run. Lost among the hoopla (pun intended) of the hoop teams’ success is that OSU has a damn good gymnastics team. So I hope Beaver Nation continues to pack the meets and cheer them onto another postseason berth. You could argue that Tonya Chaplin’s program has been the most consistent, right up there with baseball.

Men’s Hoops make postseason. Whoever thought that was possible entering this season? But if the Beavers keep playing sound defense, making shots when they need to, and play well as team, who knows? They might just do better in conference play than expected, too, and sneak into a tournament. Even the ‘ol CBI would be a =huge accomplishment.

Women’s hoops tears up NCAA tournament. The OSU women made it the second round last season, so what can they do for an encore? How about go farther? They are a year older and have played some big games already this season. They are battle-tested and ready to shine on the biggest stage.

Andersen joins Twitter. This is the trivial wish. But in today’s age of social media, not having a Twitter account means you are losing the game, even when it comes to college football recruiting. So I hope a “Coach Andersen” account pops up soon, even if the new staff chef is the one who runs it. C’mon, coach… just tweet baby.

What’s on your wishlist this winter for OSU sports?

Great news for Beaver Track and Field

As some of you may know, I was a thrower for Kelly Sullivan when he was at Willamette University.  I was not very good at it, but I learned a ton from Kelly and really respect him as a coach and person.  I was exceedingly happy to have him become the Cross Country/Track coach at Oregon State and have loved to see the evolution of the track program under his watch.  The new track is a beautiful introduction to Oregon State University athletics for those coming to visit the town.

Yesterday, I read this article on OSUBeavers.com and wanted to pass it on for anyone that missed it.  Andre Auskaps, a Beaver alumnus from the class of 1974 donated over $200,000 to the Oregon State Track & Field program to help them build new facilities. What makes this gift special is that it was given because of the great experiences Auskaps had volunteering with the team.  The interactions he had with the staff, participants and other volunteers moved him to make the donation.

We all secretly want some huge donor to come and drop $100 million on the football program or the Men’s Basketball program because we want to keep up with the trends around the conference, and honestly, want to try and help some of the short comings we see in those program’s ability to compete at a championship level.  I found this story refreshing because the gift was not based on success, but on such an overwhelmingly positive experience with the program that he felt compelled to help out.

I want big things for our programs, but I think the one thing I want is for people to experience the programs and see what is going on.  Going to practices is great, but all I have to go on is what I see.  As some have pointed  out, that is sketchy at best, but when you get a chance to experience the whole of a program, to see the interactions with coaches and players, to see the camaraderie and witness the attitude of the program, if it is positive, you get a much stronger relation to it that goes beyond wins and losses.

I have found my opinions of people and coaches do a 180 degree shift when I get a chance to talk to them and hear their responses in context.  I have seen my worries about Bob DeCarolis soften when talking to him and hearing the reasons for why they do what they do, or in many cases, don’t do what you want them to.  I have learned a lot about Mark Banker by my interactions with him and understanding of what he wants to do in the grand scheme of things.  i cannot ignore results and pretend everything is great when there are clearly issues, but I find that the more I get involved with a program and see how it runs, the more I can see the motivation for what they are doing and decide if that is something I support or something I don’t.

In the case of Andre Auskaps, he found that Track & Field was something he could overwhelmingly support. Which makes me more than excited about the program and its future.