March 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 38 of 51

FIELD OF THE YEAR March 2017 | SportsTurf 39 area sports turf managers and renovated a softball fi eld for a local American Legion Chapter. This was our second time on both and learned a lot from our fi rst year. We had over 30 local sports turf managers and coaches attend our fi eld day. Lastly, the front offi ce at the Smokies has been supportive of our vision. The fi eld has gone from worst in the league to one of the best in my sort time here. If selected for this award, I will share this honor with my crew. Without them this award is not possible. SportsTurf: What attracted you to a career in sports turf management? DeFeo: Several moments in my life attracted me to become a sports turf manager. One, my grandfather used to paint the local football fi elds and would let me tag along. I would help move string lines and watch him mix paint. The second moment came in Little League, where I was always more excited watching the guys getting the dirt prepped than playing the game. SportsTurf: What are your biggest challenges in providing excellent playing surfaces? And how do you approach those challenges? DeFeo: Staffi ng is probably my biggest challenge. Our budget only allows for the hiring of seasonal employees and a lot of training is involved every year. By the time we get rolling as a team the season is sometimes halfway over. When the season comes to an end we have to let our well-trained assistants and interns go. Some come back but most seek more stable employment and move on. So we usually have to start the process all over again. SportsTurf: What changes if any are you considering or implementing for the winning fi eld in 2017? Why STMA should consider your field a winner? Hard work, dedication of my staff and personally being passionate about sports turf is what makes Smokies Park the best in professional baseball. I feel these attributes directly translated to the amazing fi eld conditions we had this season. Like most sports turf managers, we faced daily struggles and adversities. However, we put trust into our plan and worked hard throughout the season. One of the best examples of teamwork is during adverse weather. All of our game day staff and interns are trained at every position. So when we are in a rain situation I can pick one crewmember to supervise and coordinate the fi eld tarp removal with the front offi ce. This allows the rest of us to quickly attend to the fi eld and get the game started. The cross training makes us an effi cient team and we can have the fi eld quickly ready and safe for the players. Because of my team, I have been able to devote the time and energy necessary to accomplishing our goals and to stay on a budget. Crewmembers often work other jobs or attend school but every day give 100% when they show up. The crew, with the support of the Tennessee Smokies Front Offi ce, has been the best this season. The GM at Smokies Park is very understanding as being in charge is not my only position. Taking care of the playing surface here in Tennessee is about 75% of my job. My other duties as assigned happen in the off-season. This off-season was a busy one from attending the STMA conference and passing the CSFM test to traveling abroad. This year I had the privilege to provide grounds support for the MLB game in Cuba, Fort Bragg and the Premier 12 tournament in Taiwan. Cuba was one of the most challenging events because the game was 3 weeks before the Smokies' season and I made two trips totaling about a month on the island. Fortunately, my intern, Sam Turner, was a rock star this year. Because of the Cuban/ American restrictions, we only had one working phone in our group so I had to help Sam along through email when he had questions. I feel my reputation and work would represent STMA in a positive way because I believe in giving back to the community. My team and I hosted a fi eld day for Category of Submission: Professional Baseball Sports Turf Manager: Anthony DeFeo, CSFM Title: Head Groundskeeper Education: Bachelor of Science and Sports Turf Certifi cate Field of Study: Communications and Sports Turf Management Experience: 15 years as a head groundskeeper Full-time staff: None Part-time staff: Sam Turner, Kyley Dickson, Theodore Hooper, Duncan long, Keary Nease, Matthew Purcell, Alec Ryon and Nathaniel Greer Original construction: 2000 Rootzone: Loamy sand, 90% sand, 10% shag peat Turfgrass variety: Latitude 36 bermuda Overseed: Tri-blend of Aquarius, Patriot and Laredo perennial ryegrass at 6 lbs. per 1000 sq ft Drainage: Modifi ed USGA with no stone layer, extra sand was added as a perched water table. Anthony DeFeo

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