Oxford High breaks ground on new playing surface

Oxford School District broke ground Friday on a multi-purpose turf campaign, which will include a new synthetic playing surface at Bobby Holcomb Field, the home of Charger football.

The Oxford Chargers Athletic Booster Club is spearheading a $1.4 million campaign to bring the latest generation of synthetic turf to the school district’s athletic facilities.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the great corporate support from the business community,” said Geoffrey Yoste, campaign chairman of the turf project. “The student-athletes are tweeting out pictures of the progress. We start at the top with the fundraising, but we’re actually building up a lot of ground support with the students and their parents.”

Athletic Surfaces Plus is the project leader. The Memphis-based company has led turf campaigns for high schools and universities alike, including the University of Memphis.

The Oxford campaign includes a new practice surface at the new high school campus, new turf inside the baseball indoor practice facility, and a turf playing area at Bramlett Elementary School.

OSD superintendent Brian Harvey announced that there were no plans to build a new football stadium in the foreseeable future, so the 10-year lifespan of the synthetic turf will be put to good use.

Belk Ford/Oxford Toyota and Cannon Motors secured the naming rights to the new surfaces.


Oxford Chargers head football coach Johnny Hill | Gaetano Catelli

“People don’t realize how much work, time and money is spent on getting a natural turf field presentable,” said Oxford head football coach and athletics director Johnny Hill. “Now with the new field, I won’t have to tell football players to get off the field on weekends, or soccer players, or band members, or anybody. They can play on it. I think it’s going to tremendously help our program.”

The hot temperatures of July and August will make the new field rather toasty when two-a-day practices roll around, but the veteran coach already sees that as an advantage.

“It’ll get them ready. From a strategy standpoint, it’ll get those kids in shape. They’ll think they’re practicing in an oven out there,” Hill laughed.

Excavation crews are currently clearing the old field, and the new synthetic surface will be installed and ready before the Chargers’ home opener against Starkville on Aug. 29.


Twitter: @oxfordcitizenjr

About Jon Rawl

Publisher of the Oxford Citizen, a Journal Inc. company.