I am the… Director of Grounds
For the… Oxford Sports Complex and Cider Ridge Golf Club in Oxford, Alabama. The Oxford Sports Complex is a 340-acre complex set to open in May that will feature a signature baseball and softball field, one track-and-field facility, nine baseball/softball fields and eight soccer fields.
What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without? The Toro ProCore 648. Its versatility allows us to aerify more precisely than ever before.
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …” In the financial field in some capacity. I’ve always loved numbers, spreadsheets and that sort of thing. But nothing beats the career that I’ve chosen.
What path led you to a career in sports field management? I was working for Honours Golf (third party management company) as the superintendent at a municipal golf course when the city of Oxford decided to build the sports complex. The city decided to hire Honours Golf to manage the grounds at the new sports complex, in addition to the golf course. That’s where I came in.
What types of fields and turf areas are you responsible for? We have baseball, softball, track and field, and soccer fields. We manage Tifway 419 bermudagrass fields that are overseeded in the fall with perennial ryegrass.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining the facility? The elevated level of expectations the city and its patrons have for this complex.
Detail a memorable career moment. The first time I ever sprayed greens. My boss had me spray an insecticide one evening for cutworms. So I mixed up the emulsifiable concentrate and off I went. But I forgot to turn the agitator on while mixing, so the insecticide went straight to the bottom of the tank. My first and second pass on the first green I sprayed sure looked funny. The next morning I saw that those two passes didn’t have any dew on them and it turns out, they died. I learned from that mistake.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job? That the grass will always grow back.
How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future? I believe that we’ll continue to face more and more environmental scrutiny from state and local legislators.
What do you wish spectators/players/coaches knew about your job? That our work days don’t begin one hour before the games!
What advice would you give aspiring field managers? Always stay humble.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors? First, my grandfather, Lamar Proctor. He taught me about working hard and having a strong work ethic. Second is my college professor, Joshua Jackson, who made a big impact on my life.