Sometimes you just have to take it step-by-step and be patient.
Philip Haywood knows a thing or two about building to the ultimate goal.
Monday morning the legendary coach announced that Belfry has been approved for new turf and the process of taking up the old and installing the new may start as soon as the end of the week.
Earlier this spring, the Pike County Board of Education approved Belfry’s new turf, but there were still a few other hurdles that the Pirates had to go through before everything was official.
“In all honesty we have been working on it for a while,” Haywood said. “It is a slow process. Everything that you think was probably going to happen next week was more like the next month or two. We got final approval through the board last month, but there were still final hurdles to cross. We had a lot of I’s to dot and T’s and X’s to sign. The project could start as early as the end of the this week or the beginning of next week and should be done by around August.”
Belfry began raising money for new turf around a year and a half ago.
It’s been a slow process, but one that has paid off for the Pirates.
“It’s been a process with a lot of people contributing to the Belfry Athletic Boosters for the past year and a half,” Haywood said. “We’ve had some people ask what can we do now? Can they donate more money? When we started procuring funds, we knew it would take a while to get something like this done. We kept getting a little bit and little bit. We just kept getting a little more at a time and it’s kind of like we talk about in football, we want to get a little better each week until we get where we need to be.”
The Pirates new field opened in the 2005 season.
The turf has been down ever since.
Belfry has taken great care of the turf, but it was just a matter of time before the Pirates needed new turf anyway.
“We might could’ve played another season or two on the turf,” Haywood said. “We’ve had this turf 14 or 15 years and everyone who sees it asks how it looks so good to be as old as it is. I guess we’ve taken good care of it over the years and watched where we practiced and moved around. We just wanted to go ahead and try and replace it because it had to be replaced sooner or later.”
After turf gets old and worn it can be a hazard for players.
Belfry always thinks about its player’s safety and considered that in their approach to get the turf replaced sooner than later.
“It’s always a concern and you don’t want to get to a point where it’s unsafe to play on,” Haywood said. “When it’s in its new phase, turf is probably a little safer than dirt, but after it gets old it might be a little unsafer. It was just a good time to replace it.”
The turf will be similar to what’s already down, but there may be a slight new look to the field.
“The turf will be very similar to what is already down,” Haywood said. “There is only two companies that make it in the world. There are a lot more companies selling it, but only two making it. It will have a new look and be paneled like what UK has. We are still going to have the green natural look and the end zones will be red and one end zone will say Belfry and the other say Pirates. We are planning to have a logo on this one, though so that will be a bit of a new look.”
The expenses have been mostly covered, but not fully covered.
“I don’t want to say an number on cost and put it into dollars and cents,” Haywood said. “We still will some more and there are always new costs and concerns that you don’t really think about. We’ve already run into a bit of drainage problem. So if anyone out there still wants to contribute, we could certainly use the help.”
The new Belfry turf should be down before the beginning of the season.
There has been a lot of uncertainty and bad news at this time for sports, but Belfry has a bit of good news and something to look forward to.
“We just want to thank the people who helped and contributed to this project,” Haywood said. “We’ve had so much support here at home and across America really. So we just want to thank our local communities and everyone really.”
This fall, C.A.M. Stadium will have a new look with the new turf.