The Sports Field Management Association (SFMA) advances professionalism in sports field management and safety through education, awareness programs, and industry development.
Humble beginnings and proud past
Because a few men believed that sports turf could be improved through the sharing of knowledge and the exchange of ideas, the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) was officially formed in 1981.
The key leaders in the STMA’s infancy were Harry “Pops” Gill (deceased), Milwaukee County Stadium; Dr. William Daniel (deceased), Professor Emeritus, Purdue University; Dick Ericson (deceased), Minneapolis Metrodome, and George Toma (NFL).
After sharing the office, executive secretary and conference facilities of the National Institute of Parks & Grounds Management in Appleton, Wis., for three years, the 60 STMA members decided to venture into independence in November 1984.
The board of directors, led by their newly elected President, David Frey, appointed the association’s first Executive Director, Dr. Kent W. Kurtz, Professor of Turfgrass & Ornamental Horticulture at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. In 1985, the Association incorporated as a notforprofit corporation and began a quarterly newsletter. STMA established a national office in Upland, California, during the spring of 1987. The first national conference in 1986 was held in conjunction with that of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, as were the annual meetings in 1987 and 1988.
In January 2022, the STMA announced its association rebrand to the Sports Field Management Association (SFMA) during a reveal ceremony at the association’s annual conference in Savannah, Ga. According to SFMA, the rebrand broadens the association’s scope to all who have job responsibilities on a field or within the industry.
“The rebrand of the association was a culmination of things that have happened over the last few years,” said SFMA President James Bergdoll, CSFM. “The industry has expanded and evolved, and there was a desire to change to stay relevant.”
Added SFMA Past President, Nick McKenna, CSFM, “I believe this rebrand shows that, as an association, we are just like our members, adaptive and responsive. We are looking to the future and attempting to further build and grow the association along with industry as it grows and evolves.”
Said Bergdoll, “With this rebrand, we look to become a stronger and more inclusive community that represents, and is an advocate for, all of those who make up SFMA.”
To view a timeline of the association’s history, click here.