Jan. 28, 2005
Bob Campbell, Tennessee's director of sports surface management, has just stepped down after a two-year term as president of the Sports Turf Management Association (STMA). He led the 2,500-member association through two years of great change, changes that included a complete re-organization of the association and included the hiring of the association's first dedicated management staff.
The hiring of Kim Heck from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America as STMA's first chief executive officer gives Campbell special satisfaction.
"For the first time, STMA has its own staff which shares our goals and aspirations," said Campbell. "Severing the relationship with our longstanding management firm was difficult, but this move will allow us to grow and reach our full potential."
STMA, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, is the not-for-profit, professional association for the men and women who manage sports fields. Its more than 2,500 international members oversee sports fields and facilities at schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreational facilities, and professional sports stadiums. The membership's goal is to provide the best playing surfaces possible for athletes at all levels of playing abilities.
At the association's annual conference in Phoenix, new president Mike Trigg presented Campbell an honorary citation thanking him for his services to the association that brought the more than 1,000 attendees to their feet for a standing ovation.
He followed in the footsteps of his Tennessee colleagues who have been national leaders of their organizations, including head coaches Johnny Majors (1990) and Phillip Fulmer (2003), who led the American Football Coaches Association, and Dr. Ruth Darling, who served as president of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) in 2004.
Mike Andresen of Iowa State University, and the association's president-elect, said Campbell "was the strongest president STMA ever had.
"At the time Bob took over as president, our association was beginning to fracture. An ethics and bylaws issue had arisen which polarized many in our membership. Bob exercised decisive leadership, put this association on his back, and in two years guided us to the most successful conference and exhibition in our history.
"Bob was responsible for unifying the association through tireless communications with members, be they sports turf managers or commercial vendors. People knew he looked at every side of every decision. The board and entire association respect him more than he could ever believe."
Campbell stressed that it was an exciting two years for the association and for him personally.
"There were many challenges, but with challenges came great opportunities," he said. "I had the chance to work with so many dedicated professionals from across the country. Because of that experience, I know I am a better person. I am grateful that the members of STMA gave me this opportunity and thankful to the athletic department administration for supporting my efforts during the past two years."
The returns on his tenure as president are in and the consensus is that his years were good ones.
by Tom Mattingly