By Dustin Semore
FHU Sports Information Director
While most of the praise that is given inside Morgan Stadium at Tucker Field is directed toward the athletes competing on it, on Friday the field itself received honors.
The National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association announced the 2022 Netting Professionals / NFCA Field of the Year honors. According to the NFCA, “This award, made possible by NFCA Official Sponsor Netting Professionals, recognizes top fields/stadiums in the nation for their flawless grounds maintenance and exceptional playing surfaces. These locations are selected by the NFCA Awards Committee for NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Cal JC, NWAC, and High School. The winners were nominated by NFCA member coaches and selected by a panel of their peers on the NFCA Awards Committee.”
Morgan Stadium took the prize in the NAIA Division for its turface and red clay infield surrounded by a hybrid Bermuda and overseed of ryegrass. Among some of the newer amenities to the facility are a new scoreboard and the softball field house which houses the softball locker room, training room, team room, officials room, offices, and a turfed floor to provide indoor hitting and pitching practice.
The honor was not lost on Lady Lion head coach Todd Humphry, who, along with his assistant coach Kaylyn Graham, does a majority of the work on the field. “It’s big because we want a nice play for our girls to play and for teams to come in and perform,” said Humphry. “I think it helps us with recruiting – girls want to play on a nice field and we surely have one of those.”
“You want to be proud of your facility and I think the fact that our girls have to work on it and maintain it makes them respect it enough to keep it where it needs to be.” Speaking of the team effort it takes to maintain such a good field, Humphry was especially complimentary of Hayden Jarrell, who Humphry says was instrumental in doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to bring the field to its award-winning level.
The winners were nominated by NFCA member coaches and selected by a panel of their peers on the NFCA Awards Committee. They will be recognized on Dec. 10 during the NFCA Convention’s annual Awards Brunch.
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaching awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from webinars to legal counsel, to in-person events and the National Convention.