The North Carolina Sports Turf Managers Association held its 2nd annual athletic field bus tour on January 28th, 2009. Over 50 attendees who are members of the NC Sports Turf Managers Association received tours of UNC and Duke athletic facilities as well as the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, who also hosted lunch in the press box. The UNC facilities tour consisted of the newly constructed Boshamer Stadium baseball complex, Keenan football stadium and intramural and practice fields. Michael Hrivnak, UNC's athletic field manager, covered topics like things to consider during new construction, and what it takes to manage a Division I college football facility. Duke facilities manager Phil Martin and athletic field manager Scott Troutman also covered what it's like to manage athletic turf at their facility, as well as how to deal with special events like concerts, transitioning to a new football coaching staff, and managing synthetic lacrosse turf.
In addition to UNC and Duke's university facilities, we also visited with Scott Strickland at the Durham Bulls athletic park to discuss what it's like to manage a minor league baseball facility. Minor league baseball's rigorous spring and summer schedule, combined with the need to generate revenue by hosting other events, create a unique set of challenges for turfgrass managers at this level. Scott discussed topics like managing seasonal staff, clay infield renovations and management, how to deal with special events, and others. During our visit to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP), attendees also had a catered lunch in the hospitality suites while having a chance to meet and collaborate with each other.
Thanks to all of the NCSTMA members who attended, and special thanks to Michael Hrivnak, Phil Martin, Scott Troutman, and Scott Strickland for hosting tours at each of their facilities. Anyone interested in participating in future events such as this one can contact the NCSTMA officers about joining at www.ncsports.org. As always, tours, lunches, and educational sessions are free to members, and it's a great chance to meet and discuss athletic field turf with other field managers in North Carolina.