The best fields in professional and collegiate sports revealed


Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) – the professional association for 2,700 men and women who manage sports fields worldwide who are critical to the safety of athletes and coaches – awards 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 featured below:


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,” says 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 & Exhibition in West Palm Beach, Florida January 13-16, 2020.

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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