From Bed of Rock to Grid of Iron as the Cougars Eager to Install New Turf
After ten years of service the old turf was wearing down at Bob Young Field. The USF Cougars get a new surface which will be ready for the 2015 football season.
It may be a bit unnerving if the regular season starts in about a month and your stadium floor is a bed of rock. However, Cougars Athletic Director Josh Snyder says the field should be ready for the upcoming campaign. “It should have been done by early to mid-July. Once we got the turf off and started really looking into it, (we saw) what we needed to do underneath. We knew there were significant work that needed to be done and frankly, we weren’t prepared for that.”
A lot of credit goes to Soukup Construction for accommodating the schedule and getting the project back on track as Snyder anticipates the turf being laid in early August. “We’ll be all ready to go by at least August 20 and (hopefully) by August 14 when the team starts.”
In case you’re wondering, USF got within the normal usage range for a turf field. “They guarantee them for eight. You expect to get about ten. You really hope to get about 12 (years).” Snyder says from field level, it was easy to see the imperfections. “Before we took it off, you noticed a lot of undulations. It hadn’t gotten to the point of being unsafe, but it certainly was not the ideal situation.”
Major differences will be immediately noticeable when the fans eventually get to see it. Snyder expects that will assist in the elevating the program’s status. “In this business, it’s about branding and selling your program. Before, it was a blank green canvas. Prospective student athletes and fans will come in this year and they’ll see the end zones that are gray with purple lettering that says ‘Sioux Falls’ and ‘Cougars’ plus a huge Cougar (logo) from 35 to 35 (yard lines) in the middle of the field, it’s going to look phenomenal.”
Additionally having an team that finished just outside of playoff contention in 2014 with most of the key players returning adds to the heightened expectations. The new field will be christened in game one of the season against the University of Mary on September 5.