I am the… Athletic Turf Supervisor
For…USA Stadium and the city of Millington, Tennessee
What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without? Our John Deere Gator UTV. At a facility where you host mostly tournaments, you don’t realize how valuable a Gator is until you don’t have one for a month.
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …” A coach.
What path led you to a career in sports field management? When I started college at Middle Tennessee State University, I was the equipment manager for the baseball team. One of my responsibilities was field care, and on my first day we were edging. By the time we were done and I saw the finished product, I was hooked. Being able to see the before and after of your work every day is very rewarding and why I love this profession.
What types of fields are you responsible for? Two college-sized baseball fields, two multi-purpose fields (high school soccer, youth football, rugby) and four youth league softball fields. All are natural grass surfaces.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job? Be flexible and calm.
In most cases, things aren’t going to go the way you planned them. In those instances, it’s important to not lose your head and be open to ideas your staff might have to get the job done quickly and correctly. Also, don’t be afraid to take time off.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining the facility? Overuse and not having enough full-time staff. With as much as we host at our facility — we also help local high schools throughout tournament season — getting overwhelmed is easy. Keeping the staff motivated with a high-density workload in the short time I have them is hard, but doughnuts always seem to help!
How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future? I think a swing back to natural surfaces will happen. Also, ways to handle the high loads of events at our facilities (concerts, wrestling matches, etc.) with as little damage as possible will keep improving.
What’s the most important quality required to be a successful field manager? Dedication. This career takes long hours and hard work to be successful.
What advice would you give aspiring field managers? Aim to improve wherever you are. You more than likely won’t start out your career at your ideal location, but by improving where you are you’ll make yourself a better turf manager.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors? My family and fiancée — without them and their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today and also still striving to be better. Turfwise, if it wasn’t for Brandon Nolen, Marty Wallace, Tom Nielsen and Craig Sampsell helping me along the way and answering my many phone calls, I would be lost at times.