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STMA and MiLB announce 2017 Sports Turf Managers of the Year

Credit: Laura Wolff Charlotte-Knights

The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) have announced the winners of the 2017 Sports Turf Managers of the Year award, sponsored by STMA and John Deere.

In an encouraging development for the groundskeeping industry, three of the four honorees are first time winners. The recipients will receive their awards at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on December 11 at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The 2017 award winners include:

Triple-A – Matt Parrott, Charlotte Knights
Double-A – Ray Sayre, Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Single-A – Mike Williams, Charleston RiverDogs
Short Season or Rookie – Ryan Olszewski, Mahoning Valley Scrappers

“Our minor league members continually demonstrate uniqueness and skill while maintaining safe and playable surfaces,” said Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of STMA. “The high-quality submissions illustrate the individual merits for winners and we’re proud to honor their truly fantastic results.”

Out of the four winners, Matt Parrott (above) is the only two-time winner of this award. In 2011, he earned the ‘Double-A Sports Turf Manager of the Year’ award as a member of the Bowie Baysox. Parrott’s accolades include ‘Eastern League Diamond Pro Sports Field Manager of the Year’ (2011, 2014 and 2015).

Ray Sayre (right) was recognized as ‘2017 Southern League Groundskeeper of the Year’ for the fifth straight season (2013 – 2017). Hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as head groundskeeper at their Carpenter Complex in Clearwater at the beginning of October, Sayre previously served as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ head groundskeeper for seven years. 

Mike Williams (left), a professional groundskeeper since 1993, has worked for the Charleston RiverDogs since 2006. Accolades include ‘1994 Eastern League Groundskeeper of the Year,’ ‘1994-95 Beam Clay Professional Field of the Year’ and ‘South Atlantic League Sports Turf Manager of the Year’ (2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2017).

The RiverDogs’ playing surface, Riley Park (below), has been named ‘South Atlantic League Best Playing Field of the Year’ each year Williams was honored as ‘Sports Turf Manager of the Year.’

Ryan Olszewski (below right) completed his third season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (bottom) as head groundskeeper and assistant director of stadium operations.

He and his staff worked more than 155 total on-field events and demonstrated expert planning, preparation and work ethic. Olszewski joined the team from the Akron Aeros/Rubberducks.

Since 2000, STMA and MiLB have honored members who manage fields in Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A and Short Season or Rookie divisions.

Winners are selected via a 13-member awards committee, compiled by STMA. Each nominee is independently scored on cultural practices, game day routine, resource utilization, staff management and the groundskeeper’s involvement and support of the sports turf industry.

November 1, 2017

Written by Matt Ross


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