Monday, October 3, 2011


First things first, I want to congratulate Mike Williams of the Charleston Riverdogs for winning the South Atlantic League’s “Groundskeeper of the Year” award. Mike has won this award two of the last three years (my personal opinion is the powers at be do not want to give it to the same person year after year).

If you have been to “The Joe” in the last few years, you have witnessed the great job Mike and his crew do maintaining the field. Between The Citadel, the Southern Conference Tournament, The Riverdogs, and multiple other events “The Joe” has a tremendous amount of activity on it. It takes a lot of dedication to work the long hours in the Lowcountry’s heat to keep the field looking so good.

The knowledge of what to do when and the scheduling of those applications around the various events that take place requires great organization. Mike has super organizational skills to compliment his horticultural knowledge. He also has to consider the weather (especially wind and rain) when applying products at a very windy location near the water.

Groundskeepers are one of the most “thankless” jobs out there. They work in the heat during the summer and the cold during the winter. They work so hard to get a field perfect, and it rains during the game and wipes out months of hard work in an hour. Almost all fields in the area (recreation leagues, schools, professional stadiums, city fields, club fields) have way too much play on them. A groundskeeper works hard to make the field nice for someone else to destroy.

I guess it is like the housekeeper in a hotel. The bed is made up perfectly, and we destroy it. If it was not made up perfectly or it had bugs in it, we would call the front desk. Groundskeepers work hard to maintain the fields so they are safe for the people that play on them. Filling divots, adjusting irrigation heads that are not level with grade, lips on baseball / softball fields and controlling fire ants are big safety issues.

Groundskeepers need to be plumbers (irrigation), mechanics (equipment repair), inventors (rigging up something to do a certain job), agronomist (soils), entomologist (insects), plant pathologist (fungus and other killers of plants), horticulturist (plants), weatherman, surveyors (grade field), schedulers (coordinating applications around events)

Next time you see a groundskeeper you might want to thank them, and if it is Mike Williams, congratulate him on his award.