What do you think of red turf being installed at Woodward Field?
CHENEY -- Former Eastern Washington University football standout Michael Roos of the Tennessee Titans has pledged $500,000 toward the university's "Red Turf" project at EWU's Woodward Field.
The project is slated to take on a very unique twist with the installation of the red synthetic playing surface. The red artificial field will be the first of its kind, not just in NCAA Division I football, but in the entire country. It follows in the footsteps of Boise State University who uses a blue artificial turf at their home football field.
Eastern Athletic Director Bill Chaves said that EWU needs to secure additional funding through private contributions before actual replacement can be started. They hope the project can be funded and completed in time for the 2010 season.
"There is no doubt that one of Boise State's claim to fame has been their blue turf and like it or dislike it, it has certainly brought them a tremendous amount of notoriety," said Chaves. "In a similar vein we have a tremendous opportunity at Eastern to do the same by differentiating ourselves with the red turf while providing a superior playing surface."
Roos played at Eastern from 2001-04, and ended his Eagle career with 35-straight starts. As a senior in 2004, he earned five different All-America honors and was the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (then I-AA) Lineman of the Year.
"I am grateful for my time at EWU," Roos said. "Not only did I meet my wife during my time at the university, but Eastern's leadership, coaches and football program paved the way for my professional success in football. It is exciting to be able to give back."
Eastern head football coach Beau Baldwin sees several significant advantages thanks to this investment. "First of all, the generosity and loyalty Michael Roos has shown to our football program at EWU are unparalleled," Baldwin said. "Top to bottom, the players and coaches -everyone associated with our program - knows it's a sizable and generous gift, and can't be more excited about the opportunity to play and practice on the new surface."
Besides the obvious advantages of synthetic turf in inclement weather, Baldwin's team typically has additional practice issues late in the season in dealing with darkness and class schedules. With artificial turf, the Eagles can practice on their game field under the lights at their convenience with minimal field condition worries.
Built in 1967, the Eastern Washington's stadium has had a grass field since its inception.