I am the… Grounds Director
For… Boyle County Schools in Danville, Kentucky
What field care product / piece of equipment could you not live without? An aerifier, because aerification is the best tool for healthy turf.
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …” A teacher and coach.
What path led you to a career in sports field management? I’ve always played sports growing up, and my family are big golfers, so getting into turf and golf courses seemed like a natural option. I got an internship at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky, for the summer following my sophomore year at the University of Kentucky (UK) and never looked back. I worked a total of nine years at Valhalla, from college intern, to full-time crew, to assistant superintendent. Post-Valhalla, I was a superintendent at two different golf courses in central Kentucky. I knew I needed a change, but didn’t want to get out of the business — and that’s how I ended up in the Boyle County school system.
What types of fields and turf areas are you responsible for? The turf, landscaping, etc., on the main campus (elementary, middle and high school) and two other elementary schools. On the main campus, I maintain a baseball field, a cool-season practice football field, a synthetic football game field, a Riviera bermuda soccer field, two other coolseason soccer fields and we are about to start a renovation project on a softball field.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining the facility? I had no idea how busy a school campus can be. There are always people coming and going; I just thought you dropped your kids off in the morning, and they went home in the afternoon! There’s always something going on, so our schedule is constantly changing.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job? Managing turf is not black and white. There are no straight-forward right or wrong answers. It’s a science, and you’re going to make mistakes — and that is exactly what makes you a better turf manager.
How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future? There will always be a need to manage athletic fields, but the expectations for highquality facilities continues to increase. I also believe there’s a movement back to natural turf fields, rather than synthetic. Another challenge will be more and more environmental rules and regulations for the industry.
What is the most important quality required to be a successful field manager? Being able to be adaptable and flexible — you’re always editing your game plan.
What advice would you give aspiring field managers? The turf business is beyond rewarding — but it’s a profession that you have to give 100 percent of yourself, all the time. You truly have to love what you do and there are a lot of sacrifices that you make along the way. There’s no greater feeling and reward than looking at [your] wellmanicured, striped-up field.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors? Everyone who I’ve worked with along the way has played a small part in who I am today. At UK, it was the late Dr. Powell and Dr. Williams — they were great mentors and advisors. But my biggest influence was my time at Valhalla, where I worked a couple PGA Championships and a Ryder Cup. Mark Wilson and the crew at Valhalla taught me everything I know. Beyond the technical skills and knowledge I gained, I learned the value of teamwork, passion, family, dedication and the hard work that it takes to make it in this business.