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USC Upstate’s Cyrill Softball Stadium Receives National Turf Award

11- 29- 2006

Cyrill StadiumSpartanburg, S.C. – The Sports Turf Managers Association has announced their annual Field of The Year Award winners. Making the prestigious national list is the University of South Carolina Upstate’s Cyrill Softball Stadium which was selected as the 2006 College Softball Field of the Year. Cyrill Stadium is one of only 11 fields nationwide to receive an award this year.

Bruce Suddeth, USC Upstate’s director of landscaping, will travel to San Antonio, Texas, in January to accept the award at the 18th annual STMA conference and exhibition. In addition to the award, the winning facilities and their maintenance programs will be featured in a 2007 article in SportsTurf Magazine, the industry’s premier publication.
“The Field of the Year Award validates the great work of our members,” says Kim Heck, CEO of the STMA. “This honor is one of only a handful that the association awards to recognize quality sports field management. Bruce Suddeth’s experience and expertise is definitely reflected in the award-winning playing conditions at USC Upstate’s Cyrill Stadium.”

Cyrill Softball Stadium, located on the north edge of the campus, was constructed in stages as the field, dugouts, concrete seating area, and lights were completed for the 2002 season. The press box and stadium seating were added in 2004. The stadium was named for Frank Cyrill, whose generous gift made construction possible. Allie Cyrill, Frank’s daughter, played on the USC Upstate softball team so he was interested in appropriate facilities on campus.

“The University had very little athletic facilities on campus when Allie enrolled and the teams were playing their games off campus,” explains Cyrill, a retired businessman who lives in Columbus, N.C. “The campus had adequate space for the addition of athletic facilities so I was just happy to get the ball rolling.”

Chris Hawkins, head softball coach at USC Upstate, collaborated with Cyrill on the project.

“Frank not only donated financial resources to build the stadium, he also served as the general contractor for the project,” says Hawkins. “He worked side-by-side with the crews every day for the duration of the project. Frank was right there with a shovel. It was amazing to see how humble he was about the project, yet so committed to its completion.”

This award is not the first time the stadium has received industry honors. In 2003 it was recognized with a regional TURFACE Field Maintenance Award and in 2005 was awarded the South Carolina STMA Softball Field of the Year. In 2006, the stadium was also the NFCA National TURFACE Field Maintenance Award.

“A lot of people take care of the field, from the coaches, to Shurburtt Corporation, as well as USC Upstate’s landscaping staff and crew,” says Suddeth. “There are several entities involved to make the stadium what it is.”

There are five field types for which the STMA award may be given: baseball, football, soccer, softball and athletic complex. For each field type, awards may be given in three categories: professional, collegiate, and schools/parks. The judges evaluate the playability and appearance of playing surfaces, innovative solutions used, effective use of budget, and the development of a sound agronomic program. Cyrill Stadium was one of three collegiate fields selected for the award.

The STMA is a professional association of sports field managers. It has over 2,500 members who oversee sports fields and facilities at schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreational facilities, and professional sports stadiums.

“Judging the award winners was tough,” says Steve Legros, STMA Awards Committee chairman. “We had many excellent applicants with high quality sports fields.”

For additional information, please contact Bruce Suddeth at 864-503-5500 orbsuddeth@uscupstate.edu, or Patrick Allen at 800-323-3875 orpallen@sportsturfmanager.org.