August 2013 Archives

photos by Jeff Fowler

Another World Wide Sporting event is hosted by a Penn State Turfgrass Alum as Mr. Seth Whitehill (B.S. turfgrass science 2008) completes his third season as head grounds keeper at the Little League World Series. The fields look better than ever.


Seth Tamp.jpg


During his four years at Penn State, Mr. Whitehill, a native of Pleasant Gap, (Centre County) PA, interned with the Univ. of Maryland's Athletic Field Management Department and another Penn State 4-year alum PJ Ellis. PJ thought enough of Seth to offer him a job after graduation.  Seth spent about two years learning under the direction of Mr. Ellis at the Univ. of Maryland before accepting the position at LLWS.


Seth Mow.jpg


Seth continues the tradition of mentoring aspiring sports field managers and this summer hosted Logan Wetzel a Penn State Turfgrass B.S. student studying turf online through Penn State's World Campus Program as an intern. In fact, he allowed Logan to manage Volunteer stadium during the LLWS. Logan decided upon and executed the mowing pattern on Volunteer and was busy directing the volunteer grounds keeping crew on procedures and practices while Seth was busy as Lamade Stadium. These two stadia host 34 televised games over 10 days.


Volunteer Stadium.jpg


As you watch the finals this weekend, you may think that Mr. Whitehill must have an easy job just taking care of a couple little league fields for one tournament per year but that couldn't be further from the truth. The venue is a series of fields with two stadia and 4+ practice fields. There are camps and tournaments going on all season. Seth does have 9 days before the LLWS begins without play to get the field in shape.

Shrub llws.jpg

Jeff Fowler gives Seth all the credit and says it makes his job that much easier. For those unaware of what the Fowler family has done for LLWS, lets just say the quality of the fields, the friendships, and the spirit of volunteerism that this family has infused into sportsfield management wouldn't be the same without them.

Jeff , his father Don, and his uncle Dave (Dave and Don and twins) are all three Penn State County Extension agents, although Dave and Don and now retired and Jeff is a County Extension Director. Dave and Don's father, Jeff's grandfather, was also a Penn State County Extension Agent.

Three Fowler Generations.jpg

This family had a great idea in 1996 and decided they were going to organize along with the Keystone Athletic Field Manger's Organization (Pennsylvania's STMA chapter) a group of volunteers to help improve the playing conditions at this grand event. You can read about KAFMO's involvement here.


Fowler Twins Award LLWS.jpg

For their efforts the Fowler Twins were honored by Little League Baseball in 2011.

Evan Fowler Jeff Young.jpg

During the event all three Fowlers and until this year Jeff's son Evan (pictured but quite a few years ago), spend much of their time organizing the volunteer effort. This is everything from the tiniest detail on the field, to communicating with coaches and league officials, to getting the crew fed, housed, and clothed. They are completely hands on.  Evan couldn't make it for much of the event this year as he is interning with the Kansas City Royals.


LLWS 2013 Grounds Volunteers.jpg


Hats off to all these individuals in their selfless effort to improve the playing surfaces for athletes, and raise the professionalism of this industry. Besides that they are just great guys as everyone who knows them will attest. They certainly make the Penn State Turfgrass family proud! 

Dave Fowler Scrubbing Bases.jpeg


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