Pape’ Field Named Nation's Best

LAWRENCE, Kan. - The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) has honored Oregon’s Pape’ Field with its prestigious Field of the Year Award for the university and college soccer division.

Pape’ Field is maintained by Oregon grounds manager Eric Fasbender and his staff, who’s work on the Kilkenny Practice Field previously won the 2007 Field of the Year Award for football.

“I am tremendously honored to have Pape’ Field recognized in this manner,” Fasbender said. “This award is a testament to our staff and the hard work that they put in behind the scenes. Whether the sun is shining or the rain is falling, they are out there to make our athletic fields are the best in the country.  I have always dreamed of winning a Field of the Year Award, and now we have two of them!”

The STMA Field of the Year Award program began in 1992 and there are five field types for which awards may be given: Baseball, Football, Soccer, Softball and Sporting Grounds (Lacrosse, Rugby, Field Hockey and Tennis). For each field type, awards may be given in three categories: Professional, College and University, and Schools and Parks.  This year there were a total of just 10 awards presented.

“The Field of the Year Award validates the intense dedication of our members,” said Kim Heck, CEO of the Sports Turf Managers Association. “Each year the STMA awards no more than 13 Fields of the Year, so a very small percentage of our members are winners.  Eric and his crew are very deserving of this prestigious award for Pape’ Field.”

Last year’s winner for collegiate soccer field was Carroll College’s Nelson Stadium. Other previous winners include Penn State’s Jeffrey Field (2006), Texas A&M’s University Soccer Field (2000) and Georgetown’s Harbin Field (1998).

“I have always thought that Pape’ Field was one of the best in the nation,” said Oregon soccer head coach Tara Erickson. “It’s nice to have that validated by this award and is a testament to our fantastic grounds crew. My greatest compliment about Pape’ Field is that I never have to worry about it and how the surface could affect my team or the game - I know it is going to be perfect for us every single day.”

Back-to-back awards going to the same organization have occurred just a handful of times since the awards program was started in 1992 and the University of Oregon joins an elite class as a two-time FOY Award winner.

Award winners will be presented their awards at the Annual STMA Awards Banquet on Friday January 16, 2009 in San Jose, Calif., during the STMA Annual Conference and Exhibition.  The 20th annual STMA Conference and Exhibition is January 13 - 17.