Hamilton nixes idea of synthetic turf at Neyland Stadium

In this September 2005 photo, workers paint the field at Neyland Stadium for the Vols' season opener. It takes a crew of seven about a day and a half to paint the lines and checkerboard in the end zone. They use 96 gallons of paint, including 40 gallons of orange for the checkerboard.

Photo by J. Miles Cary

In this September 2005 photo, workers paint the field at Neyland Stadium for the Vols' season opener. It takes a crew of seven about a day and a half to paint the lines and checkerboard in the end zone. They use 96 gallons of paint, including 40 gallons of orange for the checkerboard.

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KNOXVILLE - Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Friday he'd like to put artificial turf in Neyland Stadium. Mike Hamilton, however, said there are no plans to do so.

Dooley, speaking Friday at the Knoxville Orthopedic Kickoff Classic Lunchion, hinted at the possibility of replacing Neyland Stadium's grass with a synthetic surface in the near future.

After wishing the audience good luck with the high-school jamboree that's being held Aug. 13 at Neyland Stadium - which had an artificial surface from 1968-93 - Dooley joked that he didn't want the field to be torn up too much.

He then said he hoped to install "field turf" in the near future to open the possibility of giving players at the high-school level and lower the opportunity to play inside Neyland Stadium.

Hamilton, men's athletic director, responded in a text message that there are no plans in the works to get rid of the grass.

"I'm a traditionalist,'' Hamilton texted, "I think we have one of the best fields in football and the grass has been replaced in the last couple of years.

"(But) we don't have enough practice space and we'll keep discussing options for that.''

Hamilton also said the synthetic turf on the indoor practice field in the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex will be replaced in the next 12 months.

Tennessee installed an artificial surface at Neyland Stadium in 1968. It was known as "Doug's Rug" because Doug Dickey was the head coach who advocated the switch.

UT was prepared to return to natural grass if the stadium was selected as a venue for the 1994 World Cup, but that did not happen.

Grass returned for the 1994 season.

Dooley's reference Friday could have been to FieldTurf, one of several synthetic playing surfaces on the market. FieldTurf is a popular surface at schools in the north and midwest.

According to FieldTurf's Web page, six Big Ten schools play games on FieldTurf. Michigan switched from grass to FieldTurf in 2003 and Ohio State followed suit in 2007.

Ole Miss last fall became the first SEC school to play on FieldTurf. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium switched to the surface after using AstroPlay for a number of years.

The only other SEC stadium with a synthetic surface is Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark. It uses Sportexe Powerblade, the same surface as the Louisiana Superdome and the Baltimore Ravens' stadium.

Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium uses a natural-grass system known as Prescription Athletic Turf.

More details as they develop online and in Saturday's News Sentinel.

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Comments » 154

tmartin writes:

#$!! no!!!!

bmgvirgo#210233 writes:

BOO! Stick with grass. I like the new turf, but still I prefer grass.

TrouserCough writes:

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DancingOutlaw writes:

I'm confused, can younger kids only play on field turf now?

ClearVol writes:

Say it ain't so...

RockyTop1 writes:

WHY?? I loved the old checkerboard endzones but, we just got our field redone a few years back with all of it being grown and surfaced with only TENNESSEE stuff.

Not only that the drainage issues were solved. Injuries have been minimized compared to the old Tartan Turf (which I have my section on my study wall at home).

I like the natural grass...GBO

VOLS4LIFE writes:

Not sure I like this idea.....yes, having grass can get expensive, but it's so much nicer!

ktm589 writes:

in response to DancingOutlaw:

I'm confused, can younger kids only play on field turf now?

If they went to the new turf that would allow more games to be played in Neyland. Right now they don't due to the field would be tore up if they played to many games on it.

ClearVol writes:

I am assuming that the younger kids CAN play on real grass, however, doing so would wear it out quickly and not make it conducive to doing so. On the other hand WHY do we need younger kids playing in Neyland.. dont most high schools have stadiums? Are we talking jamborees or allstar games?

Orangeblood13 writes:

nope

cant happen

Txvol57 writes:

Its sacred ground. I played on it in high school....dont change it. There is just something about grass that is nostalgic.

ClearVol writes:

C'mon CDD, please dont propose orange helmets too!

FWBVol writes:

I support Derek Dooley, but the idea of fake grass stinks.

If cows can't eat it then we don't need to be playing on it. Besides, most high schools in East Tennessee have more than adequate football stadiums and there is no need to play prep games in Neyland unless they want to play state championships there.

Irwin_Linker writes:

No problem with this, The newest synthetic turf is extremely nice. And quite a few NFL teams are using it.

ClearVol writes:

Will it really bring in more recruits by letting them play on this field in some fashion or another? If not, I say no deal..
I think this may be the bean counter side of Mike Hamilton coming out. He did get rid of the "hedges" to make the field more available for other things..

ClearVol writes:

Hey, wait. Can we get Orange turf? Then go ahead and switch to White shoes... Then dump Adidas for Nikes, yeah White Nikes on Orange turf with Orange helmets, that's the ticket..yeah....

RoadTrip writes:

Non-starter CDD. You will have 95% of the Vol nation against you on that one. Move on to getting your team ready for the season and recruiting.

gnm53108 writes:

Dunno.

No dog in this hunt.

ClearVol writes:

I think the grass could handle an NCAA bowl game just fine.. Thats one game and even the worst fields get spot sod when needed...
I really hope this doesn't happen.

ClearDay writes:

Hell No

VOLinATL writes:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

Doo Little...you are on thin ice already b/c you don't deserve to be at UT but we're gonna give you a fair shake. But don't be a fooking moron. Keep the grass...this isn't LA Tech!!!

RoyalVol writes:

in response to Irwin_Linker:

No problem with this, The newest synthetic turf is extremely nice. And quite a few NFL teams are using it.

A lot of NFL teams are using it. Most all of them have it in their indoor facilities. I wouldn't mind to see it installed. It would cut down on the expenses for the upkeep of the field too.

FearlessFreep writes:

No, please no.

There is NO substitute for natural grass. And UT's grass looks better than 90% of the natural fields out there.

ClearVol writes:

Im still thinking this is coming from Hammy...JMO

madmaxvol writes:

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

utfpmd writes:

No way!
"Come to UT and blow out your knee on our new version of astroturf."

SmokeyDayAfternoon writes:

NO! Stick to the real stuff. Turf just isn't real grass and never will be.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

Doo Little...you are on thin ice already b/c you don't deserve to be at UT but we're gonna give you a fair shake. But don't be a fooking moron. Keep the grass...this isn't LA Tech!!!

What do you mean Dooley is on thin ice? And yes he deserves to be here. He is our coach and I doubt he is on thin ice. Good grief.

DancingOutlaw writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Stop. Look to your left and to your right. Do you see your meds? If so, take one. If not, yell MEDS! and your wife will know what to do. I'm imagining this isn't the first time.

jhbaker14 writes:

Please Do Not Even Think About Doing This!

Irwin_Linker writes:

In all honesty I can't see the downside to this.

ClearVol writes:

Irwin, ever played football on turf? Thats the downside..

DRORANGELOVE writes:

in response to ClearVol:

Hey, wait. Can we get Orange turf? Then go ahead and switch to White shoes... Then dump Adidas for Nikes, yeah White Nikes on Orange turf with Orange helmets, that's the ticket..yeah....

Hey, Look at what Boise State's program has accomplished since switching to Puke Blue Turf. ( Maybe the blue turf psychs out the opposing teams, if so, just think what a Neon Orange turf would do ) ALA players would go ballistic as much as they hate the color of orange.

BrassMonkey writes:

Why would it matter what type of field you guys want. You do not actually play. Leave these decisions to the guys closest to the field. If you want natural grass on game day, roll one up, or plant some bermuda in your La-Z-Boy.

ClearVol writes:

love, glad somebody caught that boise reference...

The_View_From_Memphis writes:

All the way from Memphis, NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
The U of M installed fieldturf a few years ago, and the Tigers have been blowing out knees by the boatload ever since. Really, no school in the South should be playing on that stuff. Our weather dictates natural grass.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Most schools where I live use the new year-round turf...it's good stuff.

The best part is the footing is 'true', there aren't little dips and holes. The stuff acts like a sandy type of soil.

volboy81 writes:

I think everyone is thinking the turf is like the Tartan Turf we put down in 1968 and its not...its much better! Still, I like the real grass...Dooley's comments probably got blown out of proportion as is usually the case with the KNS!

ClearVol writes:

Hey Monkey,
If I donate to the program, I do at least get an opinion.
Now go back to watching your disney channel..

Squirrel_Dog writes:

Haven’t we been down this road before? We changed too grass to stop some of the injuries and to repair some of the drainage problems on the field. Some of the track teams that we’ll be playing run slower when the turf is thicker and longer. When we get a quarterback that can spread the field, then we can cut it shorter. Let’s keep the ability to adjust the grass height and the speed of the field in house…..

ClearVol writes:

I agree the "new" stuff is better than the old astro turf, however, there are no dips and holes in Shields-Watkins field. It, too has a sandy base where new grass is grown each year.. One of the highest tech fields in the country..

oskie_score writes:

Oppose.

FearlessFreep writes:

Don't forget UT has just partnered with Astroturf to build a $1.5M research facility. I would be willing to bet this has everything to do with that. Remember, at UTAD these days it's all about the $$$.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/jun...

Irwin_Linker writes:

This isn't the 1980's astro turf. The new synthetic fields are not more conducive to knee injury. If they were, they would be banned in the NFL

dvols writes:

NO this is the SEC, is Dooley wanting to be like Ole Miss>> also extremely hot!!!!

BrassMonkey writes:

in response to ClearVol:

Hey Monkey,
If I donate to the program, I do at least get an opinion.
Now go back to watching your disney channel..

I am sure your nickels will not be missed. The Astro turf research center will more than make up for it.

jhncpps1 writes:

no....no.....no....no...no

fields should be grass...period...end of story

increases the probablilty of suffering a serious knee injury on turf

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Irwin_Linker:

No problem with this, The newest synthetic turf is extremely nice. And quite a few NFL teams are using it.

I know the Eagles have it in philly because grass don't grow in December.Funny thing is you can see dirt and sand fly from it on hard cuts and slides..Iam not sure how or why that works..Iam pretty sure the new Dallas mega stadium has it and the Ga. Dome for obvious reasons too..Still theres nothing like that beautiful green grass at neyland in Sept..Neyland has an awesome ground crew and their pride in that field shows every saturday!!!

bryan14 writes:

Stop that BS now! No Field Turf!

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