THE FLATS - Historic Grant Field, the playing surface at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium, was named college football's 2017 Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association on Wednesday.
Grant Field is maintained by Georgia Tech director of athletic grounds and turf maintenance Chris May and his staff. In addition to hosting six Georgia Tech football games in 2017, the field was also the home to Major League Soccer's Atlanta United for the first nine matches of its inaugural season. Combined with the Yellow Jackets' spring football schedule and preseason scrimmages, the natural-grass playing surface withstood more than 20 major sporting events over a 40-week span from March-November.
Since 1992, the STMA has presented the Field of the Year awards as its industry's highest honors. A panel of 13 judges independently scores fields based on playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program.
"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," STMA chief executive officer Kim Heck said.
The Field of the Year honor is the second of May's career. In 2014, he and his staff won the STMA Field of the Year award for college baseball in recognition of their work at Georgia Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium.
May has been a member of the Georgia Tech athletics staff since April 2012, serving initially as assistant sports turf manager and baseball field manager before being promoted to director of athletic grounds and turf maintenance in May 2016.
May will accept the prestigious award at the 29th-annual STMA Conference and Exhibition in Fort Worth, Texas in January.