When it came time for Northern Illinois to find the latest-and-greatest replacement surface for the eight-year-old FieldTurf at Huskie Stadium, school administrators didn't look far…they wanted FieldTurf again! Following approval by the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees and the conclusion of spring practices for the Huskie football team last Saturday, installation of the new FieldTurf by the company that is the world leader in artificial turf began today.
The new state-of-the-art FieldTurf surface will officially debut when the Huskies stage their 2009 home opener on September 12 against Western Illinois. Northern Illinois had first installed FieldTurf at Huskie Stadium in 2001.
"When I first came to Northern Illinois a year ago, one of the first projects that our staff brought me was the replacement of the turf at Huskie Stadium," said NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher. "The original FieldTurf has served our NIU teams well over the last eight years, from football and soccer games and practices to camps and workout space for each of our programs. We certainly appreciate the support of our university administration in getting this project underway and are happy to once again work with the professionals from FieldTurf on this project."
"Our entire team is extremely excited that we will have new FieldTurf on Brigham Field (at Huskie Stadium) for the 2009 season," said NIU Head Football Coach Jerry Kill. "Since we use the field for both games and practices, having a really good surface is critical to the success of our football program. We can't wait for the project to get started."
"It's certainly always gratifying when an NCAA member selects FieldTurf for installation at its football stadium, but it's even more gratifying when the satisfaction level for that university is so high that they want to be a repeat customer," said FieldTurf CEO Joe Fields. "We are pleased that Jeff (Compher), Coach Kill and the rest of Northern Illinois' athletic department think so highly of the product that we have provided to them for the past eight years. Everyone at FieldTurf is completely committed to providing the Huskies and their fans with the absolute best, safest, world-class surface in existence."
Northern Illinois' commitment to artificial turf for Huskie Stadium dates back to 1969. NIU has played its home football games on turf for 40 consecutive years. On September 20, 1969, the Huskies hosted the first major college football game on artificial turf that had ever been played in the state of Illinois (versus Idaho). NIU also played host to the first men's intercollegiate soccer game on turf that had ever been contested in the state.
Huskie Stadium has been the home of Northern Illinois football since 1965. In 2003, the facility officially became known as Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium to honor Robert J. Brigham, who had served the university for 50 years as a student-athlete, assistant coach, head coach and director of athletics. The stadium has had significant upgrades/improvements in recent years including the addition of new grandstands, a new scoreboard and a new video display system. With a current seating capacity of 24,000, Huskie Stadium is not only the home of NIU football, it also serves as a practice area for the university's wrestling and gymnastics teams while also providing locker/equipment rooms for an array of Huskie teams.
More than 50 top NCAA universities currently play their home games on FieldTurf including Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, West Virginia, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas State, Boston College, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas Tech, Rutgers, Syracuse, Cincinnati and Louisville. Twenty-one of the NFL's 32 teams presently utilize FieldTurf in their stadiums and/or practice facilities. In addition, MLB's Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays have FieldTurf at their respective stadiums.
The NFL Players Association released their bi-annual ranking of NFL stadium fields during a January 29 press conference in Tampa prior to the Super Bowl. Once again, the results tabbed FieldTurf as the runaway leader among all artificial turf brands. In data gathered from polling/voting of over 1500 NFL players, 40% of the league's Top Ten surfaces were FieldTurf fields. In addition, four of the top five and eight of the top ten artificial turf fields in the league are FieldTurf, according to that NFLPA data.
FieldTurf offers industry leading engineering and manufacturing resources, unparalleled leasing and financing capabilities and leads the synthetic turf industry with regard to setting higher environmental standards. FieldTurf is the global market leader in terms of synthetic sports fields with over 3000 fields installed. Additionally, FieldTurf has attained over 12,000 satisfied customers in high quality pet, residential, commercial and municipal landscaping solutions, playground surfacing and has a complete range of golf and tennis products. FieldTurf synthetic turf customers enjoy the benefits of significantly reduced water consumption, the elimination of fertilizer and pesticides, superior durability and drainage and a product that looks and feels real. The positive environmental impact of FieldTurf provides the added benefit of LEED building contributions.
FieldTurf is part of Tarkett Sports, is the largest entity in the sports and landscape surfacing industries. Included within the Tarkett Sports portfolio is an impressive range of performance sports flooring products. This product range includes: synthetic and hardwood basketball; volleyball and gymnasium flooring; squash and racquetball courts; floor protection and covering systems; weight room flooring; and high performance indoor and outdoor running tracks, featuring Beynon track surfaces. All Tarkett Sports surfaces are developed, produced and installed with a concentration on sustainability and a commitment to protecting the environment, providing additional LEED contribution opportunities for customers. The company calls this focus on sustainability and the environment 'Environmental Intelligence' and all company personnel strive to exemplify this philosophy in all aspects of the business. For more information, please visit www.fieldturf.com - a Division of the Tarkett Group.