DES MOINES, IA (February 7, 2013) – The Iowa Sports Turf Managers Association (ISTMA) has announced that Upper Iowa University and Pattison Field have won the 2012 Iowa Soccer Field of the Year award.
"After one of the worst droughts to hit the area this past summer, this award is well deserved and is a true reflection of the high attention to detail the Grounds Department focuses on each and every day," said Billy Pipp, UIU Director of Grounds and Transportation Coordinator.
ISTMA previously awarded UIU with the 2001 Football Field of the Year award – which at the time, was a natural-grass field inside Eb Eischeid Stadium. In time, UIU transformed and renovated the football complex into the new Harms-Eischeid Stadium, which was built on top of the old stadium and now holds seating for an estimated 3,500 people.
"This award makes me very proud and pleased given the challenges that our Grounds Crew faced this past year," added Director of Athletics David Miller. "Due to the stadium renovations, the Grounds Crew had to deal with a number of construction issues that limited care and maintenance of the soccer field. They have always done a terrific job taking care of our fields, and Pattison Field remains one of the best in Iowa."
The land for Pattison Field – the competition home of the Peacocks men's and women's soccer teams – was donated to Upper Iowa nearly two decades ago from Bernard and Arnetta Pattison. The field, which used to grow corn for Pattison and his three agribusinesses, has been transformed into one of the best pitches in all of Iowa thanks to its size, irrigation and ability to drain water, while still retaining a strong, playable surface.
"To be able to win this award after what that field went through this past year shows how special that field is and how much pride all of us at UIU take in it," Head Women's Soccer Coach Brian Bahl said. "I am extremely excited for it to be completely back to 100-percent health this coming year."
Pattison Field has played host to many memorable moments since its creation nearly two decades ago, including last year's women's soccer quarterfinals victory over visiting Bemidji State in the NSIC/US Bank Women's Soccer Tournament. UIU sealed the 1-0 victory and advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive season thanks to a goal in the 24th minute of action from Corrine Wronski. The Peacocks finished that season with a program-best 15 total wins and 11 conference wins. Their 15-3-2 overall record also included a 9-0-2 mark on Pattison Field.
"Our field has always been a source of great pride for our programs," Bahl continued. "It is without a doubt one of the finest surfaces I have ever seen. Everyone associated with UIU soccer understands how special that surface is, and it holds a very special place in all of our hearts."
Bahl also reminds fans that it wasn't just the drought that hurt the field this past summer. A broken irrigation system threatened the life of the field and it was in the worst shape coach Bahl had ever seen before the start of the season.
"Our grounds crew, led by Billy Pipp, did a phenomenal job of nursing the field back to health," he said. "We are very grateful for the efforts Billy and his entire staff put into the field recovery."
Over the past several seasons, Pattison Field has given an exclusive advantage to the home squads. The Peacock women's soccer team is 36-16-9 at home since 2007, while the men's team is 29-20-2 at home since 2008.
"Our team fitness level can really help us out on a field like Pattison Field," added Head Men's Soccer Coach Ben Jones. "We like a field that's big and wide, while other teams are used to playing on a skinnier or shorter field. I think that can really help us out at times."
The Peacocks will look for similar success in 2013 on Pattison Field, which sits to the east of Harms-Eischeid Stadium and southwest of the UIU Tennis Complex.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.