Softball Field of the Year, Again
Quite apparently, the green grass of Stetson’s Patricia Wilson Field is golden.
For the sixth time in its history, Patricia Wilson Field has been named Sports Turf Managers Association National College Softball Field of the Year.
The STMA, which made the announcement Nov. 19, will present the award to Steve Barnard, Stetson softball field maintenance technician, and head coach Frank Griffin at its annual convention in January.
A panel of 12 judges independently scored entries based on playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program. The STMA selects 11 national “field of the year” winners in various sports and playing-level categories.
“We are honored once again to receive the Field of the Year award from the STMA,” said Griffin, who is in his 24th year as head coach at Stetson. “None of it would be possible without the leadership of Steve Barnard and the great work that he does. We are very fortunate to have him in our program.”
Barnard, affectionately referred to as “Pup” around the athletics department, arrived on campus in 2011. His day-to-day job requires routine field upkeep plus much more, with game-day duties often extending from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. — making certain the playing surface is in proper shape for the next day.
Originally constructed in 2003, Patricia Wilson Field previously earned the STMA Softball Field of the Year award in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2017. Additionally, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association named the facility its Field of the Year in 2004 and 2007.
“Each of these natural grass facilities embody the level of excellence that sports field managers around the country strive for every day,” commented Kim Heck, CEO of STMA. “All of the applicants are true examples of professionalism and represent the unwavering commitment of STMA members to field safety and playability.”
When the 2020 softball season begins in February, Griffin will be seeking to add to his impressive win total at Stetson. He has led the Hatters to 741 wins, 19 appearances in the ASUN Softball tournament, two regular season championships, two conference tournament titles and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
In all, Griffin’s 966 career victories during 30 seasons rank 24th among active NCAA Division I coaches and 38th on the all-time Division I coaches list.