Several critical and topical industry subjects were tackled in the “Sports Turf Talk” panel discussion, sponsored by Intelligro, which took place Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the STMA Conference & Exhibition.
Panel members included Dr. John Sorochan, of the University of Tennessee; Patrick Coakley, CSFM, sports turf superintendent at Ripken Baseball; Dr. John Cisar, independent researcher; Nick Gialloreto, territory manager with Walker Supply; and K.C. Bell, assistant supervisor of athletic grounds at Clemson University. The panel was moderated by SportsField Management Editor Robert Meyer.
Among the topics discussed was safety on athletic fields, the increasing expectations of sports turf managers, how to handle overuse on fields, ways to succeed in a changing market, making the best case for resources and financial support from management, building relationships, and environmental issues affecting sports fields.
One of the questions of note asked to Bell was with regard to working perhaps under increased scrutiny moving forward, as Clemson University recently found itself in the national spotlight after playing in the College Football Championship game – in other words, more eyes are expected to be on the Tigers and their football facilities as they will surely have more national television appearances next season.
“The less the media is talking about us the better we are doing,” Bell said of the grounds crew and of the playing surface at Memorial Stadium.
One insight that was shared by all the panelists was the importance of sports turf managers continuing their education in any way possible, in order to “stay ahead of the curve” as the industry surges into the future. This includes attending conferences, working with local colleges that have turf programs, and staying current on new products that come into the market.