Earlier this month, the Sports Turf Managers Association held their annual awards presentation in Fort Worth, Texas. Among the winners of this prestigious award was former Top Coach guest — and our go-to dirt and grass guy — Andy Ommen. Andy is the complex field maintenance manager at the McLean County PONY complex in Bloomington, Illinois. They have five fields of all sizes that they maintain, but Andy’s “baby” is the Pony Division (13-14 year old) field. I can tell you from personal experience — it plays like a billiard table. If there’s a bad hop on the field, Andy takes it personally.
Congratulations to Andy and his crew on this great honor!
You can follow Andy’s field maintenance tips on Twitter at @AndyOmmen1.
Here is the press release from the STMA.
(LAWRENCE, Kan.) – Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) – the professional association for 2,700 men and women who manage sports fields worldwide who are critical to the safety of athletes and coaches – awards its 2017 “Field of the Year” winners.
Since 1992, STMA presents the industry’s highest honors to members who manage baseball, football, soccer, softball and other sporting playing surfaces at the professional, collegiate, schools (K-12), and parks and recreation level. The 2017 winners are listed below:
- Baseball – Parkview Field at Ft. Wayne Tincaps (Fort Wayne, Ind.): Keith Winter, Head Groundskeeper
- Soccer – Moneygram Soccer Park Field 8 at FC Dallas (Frisco, Texas): Troy Crawford, Director of Grounds
College and University
- Baseball – Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park at University of South Carolina Upstate (Spartanburg, S.C.): Travis Dill, Sports Turf Technician
- Football – Historic Grant Field at Georgia Tech University (Atlanta, Ga.): Chris May, Director of Athletic Grounds
- Soccer – Osborne Stadium at Liberty University (Lynchburg, Va.): Brian Hinkley, CSFM, Athletic Field Manager
- Softball – Patricia Wilson Field at Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.): Steve Barnard, Field Maintenance Technician
- Sporting Grounds – 5/3 Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State (Kennesaw, Ga.): Shane Hohlbein, CSFM, Sports Turf Manager
Schools and Parks
- Baseball – McLean County PONY Baseball (Bloomington, Ill.): Andy Ommen, Head Groundskeeper
- Football – Cowboys Field at Jim Warren Park (Franklin, Tenn.): John Wagnon, Athletic Crew Chief
- Soccer – Longfellow Park at Park District of Oak Park (Oak Park, Ill.): Travis Stephen, Sports Field Manager
- Softball – Blue Eagle Softball Complex at Clover School District (Clover, S.C.): Will Rogers, CSFM, Sports Turf Manager
- Sporting Grounds – Pleasantview Championship Field at City of Boulder (Boulder, Colo.): John Cogdill, Manager
“Each year our Awards Committee independently selects the safest and most playable natural grass playing surfaces exemplifying the sports turf manager’s hard work and dedication,” says Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of STMA. “With an increase in applicants year over year, we are ecstatic to see the growing number of outstanding sports turf managers continually raise the bar with the fields they prepare and maintain.”
Rogers has now received this prestigious honor four times (2014, 2015, 2016), each in a different sporting category. Three-time winners include Hohlbein (2015, 2016) and Cogdill (2014, 2015). “Field of the Year” award winners for the second time include Barnard (2011) and May (2014).