Passion For Turf Management Scores Auburn Student Trip To Super Bowl
By Amy Byrnes
Unlike most fans heading to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta this Sunday to see if Tom Brady can pull off another Super Bowl win, Wilson Morgan won’t be focused on the action on the field. Instead, the Auburn University junior will be watching how the field withstands football’s biggest game of the year.
The Huntsville, AL native was the grand prize winner in this year’s Toro Super Bowl Sports Turf Training competition, which earned him a a trip to Super Bowl LIII to work with the grounds crew preparing the field for the big game. Morgan will spend the week leading up to the Rams and Patriots faceoff learning from the tops in the field of turf management all about synthetic field maintenance, lining, logo painting, irrigation maintenance, field preparation for media day, halftime prep, and clean-up.
Morgan, 21, is a turf management major at Auburn who says he’s known since high school that taking care of playing fields would be a career that would let him combine all of his passions. “I got some crazy looks back then,” he laughs.
It was during a greenhouse management class in the 10th grade that Morgan came across a copy of the teacher’s SportsTurf magazine, a publication of the Sports Turf Managers Association, and was struck while leafing through it by all the “serious” equipment he saw on the pages that were used to maintain sports fields. “That’s when I realized that caring for sports fields was a significant industry,” he says. “I had no idea people took care of sports fields for a living.”
An avid outdoorsman even then — he loves fishing and hunting and played football during high school — Morgan says it was then that he locked onto the idea of majoring in turf management in college. “There was no changing my mind,” he says, adding that Auburn’s Turfgrass Management Program, within its School of Agriculture, was the perfect fit to meet his goals.
Continue reading this article at the Turf magazine website.
Byrnes is a freelance journalist. You can read more of her work at amybyrnes.com.