The University of South Dakota football team will take the field this fall with two potent new weapons in its arsenal.
First, the team has a new head coach in alumnus and Coyote Sports Hall of Famer Joe Glenn, a former player and assistant coach at USD. In a coaching career that has spanned more than three decades, Glenn has 24 years as a head coach, with 14 consecutive winning seasons at Northern Colorado and Montana. He won two NCAA Division II National Championships at Northern Colorado and won the NCAA Division I-AA National Championship with Montana in 2001. Glenn plans on continuing his winning ways at South Dakota, as they compete in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The second new weapon in the arsenal is the addition of a new AstroTurf field at the DakotaDome. The Coyotes have played on an AstroTurf surface for years, in an on-campus facility which seats 10,000.
Athletic Director David Sayler knows that the addition of the new AstroTurf field will pay dividends to the athletic program and the university as a whole.
"The new AstroTurf field at the DakotaDome will give us an overall improvement in the football program and with our facilities," said Sayler. "It will also provide us with a new and improved level of safety and performance for our student-athletes, as well as demonstrate our commitment to the program."
Senior Associate Athletic Director David Herbster was heavily involved in the decision-making process.
"We looked at numerous options," said Herbster. "We chose AstroTurf because of their breadth of experience and the facilities the product has been installed in. Our confidence in their body of work was extremely important. Also important were price and customer service. We felt like AstroTurf provided us with exactly what we needed."
Herbster visited several facilities, but was sold when he visited the indoor practice facility at the University of Kansas. The Jayhawks had the same kind of system that USD was looking for.
"When we saw the field at Kansas, we knew we wanted to have that in the DakotaDome," said Herbster.
The surface will be AstroTurf PureGrass, a knitted nylon product that provides exceptional, all-around performance. PureGrass was designed as a premium, multi-purpose, extra-plush turf with a high fiber density. The PureGrass system at the DakotaDome will not contain infill and is designed to be a portable system, which will rest on an 8mm pad.
The system will employee the AstroHopper conversion system, which is designed to allow for removal and storage of the field in a timely and cost-effective manner, to allow the DakotaDome to convert for other types of events.
The AstroHopper system rolls up field panels and maximizes storage capacity by eliminating wrinkles, bagging, or telescoping which can lead to increased surface wear, tear, and damage.
"The DakotaDome is a great venue and the University of South Dakota has a top-notch athletic program," said Bryan Peeples, President of AstroTurf. "David Sayler and Coach Joe Glenn have raised the bar and we are proud that they selected AstroTurf to serve the needs of their student-athletes. We look forward to being a part of their success for years to come."
This summer, the three largest indoor sports facilities in the Upper Midwest are getting new AstroTurf surfaces. Not only is the DakotaDome updating its AstroTurf surface, the FargoDome in North Dakota and the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D., are also getting new AstroTurf fields.
The DakotaDome project will be complete in time for the Coyotes to take the field for their home opener against Colgate on Sept. 8.
Courtesy: Tom Berg, South Dakota Sports Information Coordinator