Ravens co-workers team up

THE BALTIMORE SUN

When the Ravens came to Baltimore, Lacie Litz never imagined it would bring her a husband as well as a career.

Lacie's father, George G. Litz, owns L and L Supply in Lutherville, the company that supplied the brick used to build PSINet Stadium as well as Oriole Park at Camden Yards. During the football-stadium project, George Litz developed a friendship with Ravens owner Art Modell.

In December 1997, Lacie, then a senior at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., was home on holiday break when Modell invited her family to see the last Ravens game played at Memorial Stadium.

After the game, Lacie's family and Modell's other guests were included in the Ravens' staff Christmas party. That's when Lacie saw Eric DeCosta, the team's scout for the Midwest. Eric says he had already noticed Lacie.

He was struck by her beauty, he says. But there didn't seem to be a good time to approach her. Lacie was either talking with her parents or engaged in animated conversation with Modell.

The conversation, it turns out, was about Lacie's possibly working in the Ravens organization after college.

Lacie and her father had decided that she needed job experience outside the family business before joining L and L Supply.

"I told Mr. Modell I would be the water girl just to get my foot in the door" with the Ravens, Lacie says.

Just before she graduated in spring 1998, David Modell, Ravens team president, hired Lacie as a staff assistant.

"We were happy to have Lacie join the organization," David Modell says. "Lacie's family and Lacie's parents ... were among the first to welcome us to the area. They're wonderful friends."

That June, Eric received an e-mail about a happy hour to welcome a new employee. He was surprised to see that Lacie was the guest of honor. Though they had exchanged a few friendly glances at the Christmas party months earlier, Eric never expected to see Lacie again.

Unfortunately, things didn't go well. Eric tried to buy Lacie a drink to welcome her, but she ended up paying for it herself. Then there was the question of the guy who accompanied her -- who appeared to be with Lacie's sister, but maybe not. (In fact, he was her sister's boyfriend and now her husband.)

Because Lacie works in the Ravens' downtown Baltimore offices and Eric works at the team facility in Owings Mills (as well as spending nearly the entire college football season traveling), he and Lacie didn't see each other again until late October.

Eric was still intrigued. He talked a co-worker into finding out if Lacie might be interested in him. She was. The couple went on a few dates, and by the spring of 1999 they were dating in earnest. That's when 25-year-old Lacie told her father, "It's official. I'm in love."

The relationship was an adjustment for Eric, 30, who previously had devoted most of his time to his job. On the road for 140 days each year, he worried about the toll all that travel might take on a relationship.

But Lacie, now an events coordinator for the Ravens, understands the demands of Eric's job. It also helps that she has supportive friends and family nearby.

When Eric decided to propose in April 2000, he first talked to Lacie's dad. George Litz, a die-hard Ravens fan, thought Eric was there to discuss the coming National Football League draft. But when the topic turned to marriage, Litz offered his blessing. And then he called Art Modell to share the news -- even though it was supposed to be a secret.

Eric participated in that year's NFL draft nervous about the draft outcome as well as the marriage proposal he had yet to make. On the day of the draft, a beaming Art Modell congratulated Eric about the secret news. Eric proposed a week later, the day after Easter. Lacie found her engagement ring hidden in an ornamental Easter egg.

The couple say their Ravens co-workers were nearly as happy for them as their own families. The DeCostas, who live in Massachusetts, where Eric grew up, got to know Lacie's family when they all accompanied the Ravens to the Super Bowl earlier this year.

Lacie and Eric married June 3 at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Mount Washington. Their reception was held at Lacie's parents' home in Owings Mills.

The wedding party included Lacie's sisters Laurie and Maggie as well as Eric's sister Joey. The guests included Art Modell and his wife, Pat, David Modell and Phil Savage, the Ravens' director of college scouting. Coach Brian Billick was on a publicity tour for his new book, but his wife, Kim, was there to wish the couple well.

Speaking on behalf of his family and the Ravens, David Modell says, "We're very pleased for both of them. They're a very lovely couple."

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