May 29, 2003
BERKELEY - Sportexe, manufacturer of leading-edge indoor and outdoor sports surfaces, has been selected to install its highly acclaimed Momentum Turf System at California Memorial Stadium prior to the start of the 2003 football season, University of California Athletic Director Stephen C. Gladstone and Sportexe President Mark Nicholls jointly announced today.
Momentum Turf, using technology that has revolutionized playing conditions for professional and college sports teams, will expand the year-round use of Memorial Stadium for California's rising football program. It will also create a viable venue alternative for other Cal sports teams, such as women's lacrosse, and women's and men's soccer.
"Considering the practice and game space limitations inherent with a university located in an urban, hilly setting, today's announcement represents a vital improvement for Cal athletics," said Gladstone. "Our staff spent several months researching and testing several artificial turf products, and we found the Momentum brand to be clearly superior to all others on the marketplace."
"Players love to play on it, and most importantly for us, it will give us the ability to train around the calendar year," said head coach Jeff Tedford. "Practicing with more privacy on what will also be our game surface is a huge plus for the program. I want to personally thank Chancellor (Robert) Berdahl, Athletic Director (Steve) Gladstone, and all those generous donors who contributed to the financing of the turf. It speaks well for the growing commitment to Cal football."
The total project is estimated to cost approximately $975,000 and will be completely funded by private donations.
Sportexe, which is currently installing Momentum Turf at the Baltimore Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium and the practice facility fields, also expressed enthusiasm for its new partnership with Cal.
"We're proud of this product and we have tremendous confidence in it," said Nicholls. "This new agreement allows us to showcase our product at one of the premier college football stadium in the nation. We appreciate having the opportunity to be part of Cal's football resurgence under Coach Jeff Tedford."
Designed to maximize player speed and performance, Momentum Turf is Sportexe's premier sand and rubber infill surface. The turf's special mix of sand and granular rubber provides stability, traction and speed, simulating a perfect natural grass surface.
"The differences between your father's AstroTurf versus what this material now represents is like looking at old 16 millimeter film to now the digitization we're going through," said Ravens' head coach Brian Billick at a recent press conference. "This technology has mirrored that technology."
Momentum Turf is also slated to be installed at Concord's De La Salle High School.
"This is a far cry from the old nylon turf products," said Bob Milano, Jr., Cal assistant athletic director for capital planning and management, who will oversee the project. "This new turf features soft, long blades of synthetic grass, a forgiving surface that provides safety to the athletes, and is extremely pleasing to the eye. Unlike the old turf products, Momentum is not a dense, abrasive carpet, so players will not be complaining of rug burns either. And of course, it's also an all-weather surface."
Milano indicated that the project is scheduled to start in early June with the demolition of the existing natural grass field. After that process is finished, minor improvements to the utilities and infrastructure will be made, followed by preparation of the new base on which the Momentum Turf will be installed.
The Momentum Turf System will be installed by the specialized Sportexe staff under the direction of Robert A. Bothman Inc., which will serve as general contractor for the project. Robert A. Bothman Inc., based in San Jose, Calif., is one of the region's leading sports field contractors. Bothman completed the field conversion at Memorial Stadium in 1995, and the renovation to the field and track at Edwards Stadium in 1999.
The new field will be ready for Cal football by mid-August, Milano added.