By Jennifer Smith
Some of the most valuable players on a sports team actually work behind the scenes, off of the court and past the announcer’s box.
School is out for the summer and many students will be working a summer job or internship. NOC Tonkawa biology major Kylie Ott has accepted an internship at the Tonkawa Chamber of Commerce. Ott will be responsible for taking care of the sports fields at Blinn Park.
“I will weed eat, mow, rake, edge and anything else that needed to take care of and maintain the baseball and softball fields,” Ott said.
The internship is from May to August. Ott will learn about field upkeep and preparation.
Sports turf managers are the front lines, but behind the scenes managers of many sports. Soccer, baseball, softball, football fields and golf courses can wear down over time if not properly maintained.
This isn’t just about mowing the fields or raking the sand. Sports turf managers need an educational foundation that includes chemistry, biology and mathematics. Fertilizing, irrigating, pest management and operating machinery are important aspects of turf management.
More than 90 percent of graduates who earn a degree in sports turf management land a job right out of college. Few industries can rival that success rate.
Northern instructor, Scott Harmon, recruited Ott for the job.
“Kylie is a hard worker with a great desire to learn more about sports turf management,” Harmon said.
Still deciding between majors, Ott hopes this internship will settle her mind on the career path she will take in the future.
There is a high demand for sports turf managers at stadiums, golf courses and other athletic facilities throughout the nation. It isn’t just a seasonal job either.
After Ott graduates from NOC, she will continue her education at Oklahoma State University in either turf grass management or horticulture specialty.
Fresh air, surrounded by your favorite sport and getting paid to do it all? Sounds like a dream job to me.