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UMass Moving up with AstroTurf

AMHERST, Mass., Sept. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- When UMass football returns to campus this week, the latest generation of Minutemen will step onto a next-generation AstroTurf® field. As part of a multimillion dollar renovation project of Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium, the university selected a brand new playing surface from AstroTurf, the originators of the synthetic turf industry. The finishing touches were applied to the new field in August, and now UMass is set to host its first football game on campus in three years this weekend.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140925/148394

The overhaul of McGuirk Stadium was precipitated by UMass' ascension from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-AA) to the Football Bowl Subdivision. The calling card of the renovation project is the new Football Performance Center, located at the north end of the stadium. The newly constructed edifice aims to consolidate football operations under one roof and includes locker rooms, training facilities, coaching offices and team meeting rooms. The stadium is also getting a facelift with new press boxes, a skybox and other improvements, including the brand new AstroTurf playing surface.

The new field at McGuirk Stadium will be AstroTurf's 3DH synthetic turf system. The product features a monofilament Horseshoe™ fiber, sand and rubber infill, and AstroTurf's patented RootZone® technology. The grass-like fibers of the 3DH field have a horseshoe shape, giving the turf structure and resiliency. The RootZone is a proprietary infill stabilization system invented, patented and improved upon by AstroTurf. The sub-layer of crimped fibers holds the infill in place, preventing splash and migration. The result is a clean, consistent playing surface which has garnered rave reviews for its performance, durability and safety.

"As part of the renovation projects to McGuirk Alumni Stadium, the upgrade of the playing surface was a key component," said John McCutcheon, director of athletics for UMass."The new AstroTurf field gives us a top-notch surface to play on during the season, but also allows us year-round training capabilities. The UMass football program is obviously excited to have games played back at McGuirk Stadium following the renovation projects and the new surface only enhanced those feelings for the student-athletes and coaches."

The Minutemen played their last home game at McGuirk Stadium in 2011. The stadium was closed for construction in 2012 as part of the transition period from FCS to FBS, during which time the school left the Colonial Athletic Association and began competing in the Mid-American Conference. UMass played its home football games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough the last two seasons, and will split home games this year between the two venues. The revamped McGuirk Stadium officially opens its doors for the first time in three years when UMass hosts Bowling Green for Homecoming this Saturday, September 27th in its MAC opener.

"We're thrilled to be involved with this project during such a dynamic period of growth for UMass football," said Dave Wheaton, sales manager for AstroTurf. "The school's selection of a premium AstroTurf synthetic turf system reflects a commitment to give their student athletes the best playing surface available in the market today."

After extensive research, it was revealed that AstroTurf 3D products excel at an industry concept known as DIG. The ideal proportions of high fiber Density, light Infill, and narrow Gauge (the space between rows of fiber) found in AstroTurf 3D turf systems result in a low DIG rating, which is preferred. Low DIG translates into fields which perform more like natural grass and minimize the torque generated by cleats gripping the surface. High DIG fields, made up of low density fiber, heavy infill, and wide gauge are more likely to trap cleats when they "dig" in, leading to more torque and greater potential for injury. A Michigan State study funded by NFL Charities exhibits the science behind AstroTurf's superiority in this regard. A link to that study, as well as a video illustration of the DIG principles upon which the AstroTurf 3D turf systems are built, can both be found on the company's website.

Leading the Minutemen onto their new field at McGuirk this year will be Head Coach Mark Whipple, back for his second stint at the UMass helm. Whipple led UMass to its first and only national championship in football when he guided the Minutemen to the 1998 NCAA Division I-AA crown. He left the school in 2003 and went on to a successful career in the pros, including a three year stretch as quarterbacks coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he won a Super Bowl ring with the 2006 squad.

About AstroTurf

For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf has redefined the way the game is played. The company offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies, leveraging the industry's first vertically integrated manufacturing system. 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 www.astroturf.com.

SOURCE AstroTurf

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