Since 2000, the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) have honored members who manage fields in Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A and Short Season or Rookie divisions. STMA is the professional organization for 2,600 men and women who manage sports fields worldwide who are critical to the safety of athletes and coaches. STMA and MiLB have recently awarded the 2017 ‘Sports Turf Managers of the Year’ sponsored by STMA and John Deere.
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. This year, three of the four honorees are first time winners; demonstrating excellent groundskeepers are continually proving and developing as top-notch practitioners nationwide.
Award Winners include… Triple-A: Matt Parrott, Charlotte Knights (Charlotte, North Carolina) Double-A: Ray Sayre, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Pensacola, Florida) Single-A: Mike Williams, Charleston RiverDogs (Charleston, South Carolina) Short Season or Rookie: Ryan Olszewski, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Niles, Ohio)
“Our minor league members continually demonstrate uniqueness and skill while maintaining safe and playable surfaces,” says 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 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 Sayra 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, Fla. at the beginning of October, Sayre previously supported the Pensacola Blue Wahoos as Head Groundskeeper for seven years.
Mike Williams, 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, 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 completed his third season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers as Head Groundskeeper & Assistant Director of Stadium Operations. He and his staff worked more than total on-field events and demonstrated expert planning, preparation, and work ethic. Olszewski joined the team from the Akron Aeros/Rubberducks.
Award recipients will receive this top honor at the Major League Baseball Winter Meeting Banquet on Monday December 11th at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. If you would like more information you can visit the STMA website at www.stma.org.