Southeast Missouri State University student publication

A deep dive into the maintenance of Southeast’s athletic fields

Thursday, November 5, 2020
Houck Stadium. October 8, 2020.
Photo by Jan Salmon

The facilities and event management staff are responsible for maintaining and preparing all Southeast fields all year — even in the offseason. Kent Phillips, coordinator of facilities and event management, is responsible for managing all home athletic events from staffing to setting up pregame. He schedules the use of Houck Stadium and Houck Field House and supervises facility projects and maintenance.

Phillips said he tends to work behind the scenes and makes sure everything is running smoothly.

The maintenance for athletic fields such as Houck Stadium have a certain schedule for when they need to be groomed and brushed. The department brushes when they need the turf to stand up more, and they groom the field about once a month. During soccer and football season, the turf requires a deeper brushing so the fibers will stand up more.

The pandemic has pushed all outdoor sports to start in the spring, but Phillips and his team still consistently maintain the fields because the sports teams practice on them daily. The fields must be taken care of frequently. If not, they won’t be ready for the spring, which could affect athlete preparation.

Phillips believes that despite the pandemic, they’re still as busy as usual.

“We're used to having events either [on] nights during the week or weekends. Also, we are waiting for the NCAA to explain any type of restrictions we may have on upcoming games that we’ll have to prepare for,” Phillips said.

Since sports have been moved to spring, the school has hosted events on the athletic fields for students to attend. For example, one night on Houck Field, the school hosted an event called Nestflix, where they hooked Netflix up to the massive jumbotron and played movies outside for students to enjoy. Many of the students at Southeast loved the idea, and it created a fantastic turnout.

Phillips supervised Nestflix, but unfortunately had to cancel the rest of the scheduled events because the weather is getting colder moving deeper into autumn.

“We’re getting to that point where it just might be too chilly to have those late outside events,” Phillips said. “Early October was a perfect time to host the events because we had great weather which made for a good turnout. We’ll definitely look into doing something like it again.”

Despite the pandemic-related restrictions, Phillips and his team are working hard to prepare the athletic fields for athletics and for any future events.