During the next 21 months, De Carolis made the Raising Reser project his passion. He relished the opportunity to discuss the project with students, teachers, school officials, fans and anyone else who would listen. He rarely turned down a phone, radio, or television interview and he remained optimistic and upbeat during the bleakest reports.
After thousands of phone calls, a plethora of handshakes, and a myriad of meetings the Oregon State athletic department announced Thursday that ground breaking for phase I of the Raising Reser project will take place this Saturday.
"Our department saying, `It's a great day to be a Beaver,' is never more evident and true than today," De Carolis said Thursday. "To be successful in a project of this magnitude requires a tremendous amount of teamwork, and there are many people to thank, but in particular we want to thank the thousands in Beaver Nation who through their overwhelming generosity made this historic endeavor possible. It is your incredible support and love of this university that has made this project feasible and we are now about to realize what was once a dream."
De Carolis has always believed the expansion of the football stadium was important for OSU to stay competitive in the Pac-10.
"The stadium project is the cornerstone of our future successes," De Carolis said in August of 2002. "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."
With the $80 million phase set to begin shortly and the announcement that the athletic department will be debt free by July 1, Beaver fans everywhere are set to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Currently Reser Stadium is the third smallest stadium out of the 63 Bowl Championship Series schools. Phase one will add approximately 8,000 seats and allow the Beavers to attract bigger name non-conference opponents.
"The expanded stadium will give us an opportunity to upgrade our non-conference home schedule," De Carolis stated. "The new structure will also enable us to compete in various arenas with our counterparts in the Pac-10 as well as in the nation."
In just under two years De Carolis has helped finalize the construction of the Indoor Practice Facility, renovate the softball complex, kick start an annex to Gill, and add Louisiana State University to the football schedule.
Although talk about phase one is still on the lips of fans of the orange and black, De Carolis is already looking towards phases two and three of Reser Stadium.
“We have an ambitious plan for this stadium," De Carolis said. "We will schedule the next two phases once we have determined the success of phase one and the demand of Beaver Nation."
The aggressive approach will benefit Beaver athletics and academics as a whole as new multi-purpose rooms will be built below the new grandstand.
De Carolis has made significant progress during his tenure. Raising Reser is just a part of his larger vision of OSU as a major player in the NCAA.
“It's an attitude. It's the love of orange,” De Carolis told the Daily Barometer, “it's people who get in their cars and drive to Palo Alto when Stanford is 2-7, it's when the band meets the team at 1 a.m., it's 38,000 people at the Fiesta Bowl who weren't ashamed to say they were Beavers, it's the young kids who are future students and athletes, it's the Junior Benny club. Beaver Nation is an emotion felt by us all.”
NOTE: The ground breaking ceremony will occur between 1:45-2:25 PM following the spring football scrimmage.