STMA announced its 2019 “Field of the Year” winners. Every year, STMA presents the industry’s highest honors to members who manage baseball, football, soccer, softball and other sporting playing surfaces at the professional, collegiate, schools (K-12), and parks and recreation levels. The 2019 winners are as follows:
- Baseball – Louisville Slugger Field at Louisville Bats (Louisville, Ky.): Tom Nielsen, former head groundskeeper
- Soccer – Rio Tinto Stadium home of Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC (Sandy, Utah): Dan Farnes, director of fields and grounds
College and University
- Baseball – Russ Chandler Stadium at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Ga.): Chris May, director of athletic grounds
- Football – Scott Field, Davis Wade Stadium at Mississippi State University (Starkville, Miss.): Brandon Hardin, superintendent-sports turf
- Soccer – Captains Field at Christopher Newport University (Newport News, Va.): Chris Webb, associate director of grounds
- Softball – Patricia Wilson Field at Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.): Steve Barnard, field technician
- Sporting Grounds – Koskinen Stadium at Duke University (Durham, N.C.): Scott Thompson, CSFM, superintendent of sports fields and grounds
Schools and Parks
- Baseball – Park Hill South Baseball Field at the Park Hill School District (Riverside, Mo.): Eric Jones, head groundskeeper
- Football – Walsh Field at Pace Academy Riverview Sports Complex (Mableton, Ga.): Daniel Prince, sports complex facility manager
- Softball – Open Space Park at the City of Sioux Center (Sioux Center, Iowa.): Lee Van Meeteren, parks director/head grounds superintendent
- Sporting Grounds – Linda Reeves Field at the Christ Church Episcopal School (Greenville, S.C.): Brian Dossett, CSFM, head turf manager
“Each of these natural grass facilities embody the level of excellence that sports field managers around the country strive for every day,” said Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of STMA. “All of the applicants are true examples of professionalism and represent the unwavering commitment of STMA members to field safety and playability.
A panel of 12 judges independently scored entries based on playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program. Judges may not award a field in each category. Winners receive a plaque, recognition at the STMA annual Awards Banquet, and will be featured in a 2020 issue of SportsTurf magazine, the official monthly publication of STMA.
Awards will be presented at the 31st annual STMA Conference and Exhibition in West Palm Beach, Florida Jan. 13-16, 2020. More than 1,600 leaders in the sports turf industry will meet at the Palm Beach County Convention Center for four days of cutting-edge educational seminars, exhibitor demonstrations and networking opportunities.
Editor’s note: Pictured above: Louisville Slugger Field at Louisville Bats