Ohio University All-In with AstroTurf
ATHENS, Ohio, Aug. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the hyper-competitive world of collegiate athletics, major renovations and athletic facility upgrades are the new normal. In an era of specialization and niche markets, one-stop shopping is not. And yet that's the case with Ohio University, who recently finalized a contract for their third artificial surface this year, all from AstroTurf®. The originators of the synthetic turf industry are slated to provide a state-of-the-art field for the new Multipurpose Center to be completed in December, which follows the re-surfacing of Pruitt Field currently underway. Those two projects come on the heels of the brand new AstroTurf playing surface installed at Peden Stadium earlier this summer.
The Bobcats football team will be playing their home games this fall on GameDay Grass 3DX, a natural-looking synthetic turf prevalent throughout America's gridiron landscape, from NFL stadiums to Division I training facilities to high school championship venues. This signature surface for AstroTurf features polyethylene slit film fibers and sand and rubber infill. The long-lasting slit film fibers give the surface its grass-like appearance while offering the ultimate in resistance to wear and tear. The hidden gem of AstroTurf's GameDay Grass 3D products is the patented RootZone® system, a thatched layer of textured nylon which stabilizes the infill, limiting splash, particle migration and compaction. The result is a clean, consistent surface which has garnered critical acclaim for its performance, speed, durability, and low maintenance requirements.
"This new playing surface provided by AstroTurf is a welcome addition to Peden Stadium," said Ohio football head coach Frank Solich. "The new surface will provide our football program with one of the finest fields in the country for years to come. We've had nothing but positive responses from our players."
Pruitt Field is in the midst of a comprehensive makeover as the facility is closed for July and much of August, while both the turf and Goldsberry Track - which surrounds the field – undergo renovations. The new artificial surface to be installed at Pruitt Field, home to Ohio Field Hockey and Bobcat Lacrosse, will be the AstroTurf 90 product, which combines the traditional knitted nylon top cloth with a 3/8th inch Armacell pad. AstroTurf fields have long been regarded as the unequivocal standard for field hockey performance and are the favorite among coaches and players alike for their playability, durability and low maintenance. It's no wonder AstroTurf is recognized as the Official Artificial Surface Provider of both USA Field Hockey and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. In fact, a recent NFHCA survey showed that 71% of Division I schools play hockey on an AstroTurf field.¹
If you were to survey the top football coaches and athletic directors in the college game today, an even larger percentage might affirm the importance of top-of-the-line athletic facilities as they relate to the success of the program. In addition to improving the campus and enabling better training practices, athletic facility upgrades can also play a significant role in recruiting². These factors weren't lost on the team at Ohio University, who recently broke ground on a $12.5 million indoor training facility. The 74,000 square foot building, referred to as the Multipurpose Center, will be utilized for a variety of activities, from intramurals and club sports to marching band and special events. But its primary function will be as a football practice facility, and the full length field set for installation in the fall, like its counterpart at Peden Stadium, will be an AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3DX synthetic turf system.
"The addition of three new turfs demonstrates commitment to our sports programs and student-athletes," said Ohio athletics director Jim Schaus. "Maintaining quality facilities impacts performance and recruiting. We are proud to be working with AstroTurf with each of these projects. They are a leader in the industry and have been excellent for our staff to work with so far. The new turf at Peden Stadium has been met with rave reviews from our student-athletes and coaches."
Selecting an AstroTurf field represents a responsible choice when it comes to player safety. A study conducted by Michigan State University, funded by NFL Charities, and published in the Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology found that GameDay Grass 3D most closely replicated natural grass as it relates to torque, force, and friction generated by cleated athletic shoes. That translates into less deep cleat penetration and fewer knee and ankle injuries than found in other synthetic fields with heavy infill and no RootZone. With the ever-increasing focus on safety and player health permeating football's cultural climate from Pop Warner to the pros, coaches and administrators alike are doing their homework and finding GameDay Grass to be the safest product available.
It's safe to say that coaches and administrators like Dr. Peggy Pruitt don't come along too often. The namesake for Ohio University's hockey pitch coached both field hockey and tennis during her tenure at Ohio, and later became a key figure in the growth of Bobcat Athletics as an administrator. Pruitt Field opened in 1999 as a venue for field hockey, lacrosse and track and field. Subsequent phases of development included adding a red brick grandstand in 2000 and lighting in 2006. The original AstroTurf playing surface, installed back in 1999, lasted 14 years, demonstrating the artificial surface's longevity. Ohio University's decision to replace it with another AstroTurf field demonstrates the school's and the sport's loyalty to the product.
"The new playing surface provided by AstroTurf gives the Ohio Field Hockey program a significantly upgraded field," said Ohio field hockey head coach Neil MacMillan. "We couldn't be happier with our new surface and we look forward to playing on it for a long time."
Time-honored Bobcat tradition and history are always on display at Peden Stadium. The "Crown Jewel of the Mid-American Conference" was named after Ohio's all-time winningest head football coach, Don Peden, upon his retirement in 1946. In addition to coaching football, Peden coached the Ohio University baseball team and later served as Athletic Director and is considered a founder of the Mid-American Conference. The stadium was built in 1929 and designed by Osborne Architects, the same outfit responsible for the original Yankee Stadium and other American style brick composed sports venues. In more than eight decades of existence, the historical stadium has undergone several renovations and modifications while maintaining its characteristic style. Natural grass was first replaced with artificial turf in 2002, but in recent years that FieldTurf surface had earned the reputation as "one of the hardest in the MAC."³ The brand new AstroTurf field installation was completed on June 1st of this year. The award-winning design firm MSA Architects of Cincinnati collaborated on the project, consulting with the university on drainage testing, civil engineering due diligence, and graphic design/logo coordination in conjunction with the new turf install.
The student-athletes who compete at Peden Stadium have been experiencing new levels of success under Head Football Coach Frank Solich. The Ohio native has brought the same determination he displayed as both a player and coach at the University of Nebraska to the Bobcat program during his eight year tenure. His squad is coming off back-to-back bowl victories following nine and ten win seasons, not to mention a stint in the Top 25 weekly rankings for the first time since 1968 after a 7-0 start last season.
Head Coach Neil McMillan brought his field hockey pedigree to the Ohio University campus eight years ago as well, and also experienced high levels of success before his arrival in Athens. After winning multiple NCAA titles at Wake Forest, McMillan has led the Bobcats to an impressive four MAC titles in his eight years on Pruitt Field, garnering three Conference Coach of the Year awards while producing dozens of all conference performers and even a few League MVPs.
¹ 57 out of 80 Division I schools that responded to the survey claimed an AstroTurf field.
² As cited by Forbes and Rivals.com, a recent survey commissioned by Advent and conducted by Galain claimed athletic facility quality as the fourth-highest determining factor of recruits, just behind relationship with coaches and ahead of campus living quarters.
³ From "New turf install at Peden nearly complete" published by AthensOhioToday.com on May 25, 2013
For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf has redefined the way the game is played. The company offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies, leveraging the industry's first vertically integrated manufacturing system. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit www.astroturf.com.