Nacogdoches, Texas – 2021 will be a big year for SFA athletes. After announcing the move to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) earlier this year, Stephen F. Austin State University and the SFA Athletic department put the wheels in motion to complete a major upgrade at the Homer Bryce Stadium. Thanks to support from private donors, the school is installing a state-of-the-art AstroTurf® football field, enabling the Lumberjacks to play on high-performance synthetic turf in time for their first game as WAC members.
The track and field team will also benefit from a new playing surface starting this year with a high-tech Rekortan BV track system.
Ryan Ivey, the SFA Director of Athletics, says, “This was a project that was really needed. Not just the football field, but the track resurfacing as well. This project is going to impact 60 percent of our student athletes.
According to Ivey, these new installations will benefit almost all of the student-athletes at SFA. And, by choosing the leaders in athletic surface technology, the SFA Athletics program can now boast a top-of-the-line competition surface, improved safety, and impressive aesthetics at Homer Bryce Stadium.
“The softball team, the baseball team, the soccer team, everyone is going to be able to take advantage of this. It’s really alleviated some safety issues and will serve so many athletes.”
The new track features a paved base mat, which boosts resilience, and a top layer of rubber and solid-pour polyurethane.
The field is being expertly installed by Symmetry Sports Construction, a certified AstroTurf distributor.
The football field is an AstroTurf® RootZone 3D3 system, one of AstroTurf’s most popular products. It provides the extreme stability offered by the company’s patented Trionic fibers, along with grass-like traction and improved durability. SFA is also installing a Brock Pad SP 17 underneath the turf system to further enhance shock absorption.
The new football field and track system will be known as the Jimmy W. Murphy Field. Murphy was inducted into the Lumberjack Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979 and has contributed over $2 million to Stephen F. Austin State University over the years to support football scholarships and enrich the SFA football program.
The field is expected to be completed soon, coinciding with the Lumberjack’s flagship year as WAC members. SFA, along with the other Texas 4 schools – Abilene Christian, Lamar, and Sam Houston State – are departing the Southland Conference on July 1st. They will all play in the Southwest Division of the Western Athletic Conference, which also includes UTRGV and Tarleton State.
“I was familiar with AstroTurf from my time at Texas A&M University-Commerce,” Ivey said. “We had AstroTurf on our football and softball fields. There were a lot of data points and references were able to use. This installation is something that can really set us apart.”
“From the customer service at Symmetry Sports and AstroTurf, everyone was so helpful during the entire process. They were great to work with. Everyone was accountable. It wasn’t just show up and put it down. Everyone was here to work through the process.”
SFA has earned numerous accolades over the years. Most noteworthy are recent FCS playoff berths in 2009, 2010, and 2014. Also, just this year, two talented Lumberjacks were named to the 2021 Freshman All-American Team – offensive lineman Justice Guillory and defensive lineman Caleb Fox. Wide receiver Xavier Gipson was made an honoree on the Sophomore All-American Team.
The Lumberjacks will play their first game at home on the new AstroTurf® field against the Tarleton State Texans on September 4th.
“Everyone is really excited,” added Ivey. “We are coming off of eight Southland Conference championships in various sports this past year and now moving to the WAC. We’ve got a ton of momentum and this place is really buzzing.”
For athletes and sports enthusiasts, AstroTurf® has redefined the way the game is played. The brand offers advanced, multi-sport, and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams, and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit AstroTurf’s website at www.astroturf.com.