In Preparation for Red Turf, “Turfbreaking” Takes Place Saturday at 5 p.m. at Eastern

Michael and Katherine Roos will be on hand for Saturday event as EWU’s Red Turf project gets underway

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Before they can “Play it on the Red,” the old grass surface has to go.

The official start of Eastern Washington University’s Red Turf project will take place with a “turfbreaking” ceremony on Saturday (June 12) at 5 p.m. at Woodward Field on the EWU campus in Cheney, Wash.

On hand will be former Eagle and current Tennessee Titans star Michael Roos, who along with his wife Katherine Roos kick-started the project with a $500,000 pledge. They will join several EWU administrators and others for the ceremonial uncovering of sod. The public is invited to attend, and information regarding contractors, project timelines, a 24-hour web cam and other details will be announced at that time.

The red artificial field will be the first of its kind, not just in NCAA Division I football, but in the entire country. The initial announcement was made on Jan. 26, and on May 20, Eastern announced approval by the EWU Board of Trustees to re-name Woodward Field to “Roos Field” upon project completion.

The “turfbreaking” ceremony is probably the only chance the Roos family will have to visit Cheney again until after the NFL season, partly due to the fact the bye in EWU’s 2010 schedule (Nov. 6) is the same weekend as the bye in Tennessee’s schedule. Roos will be in the Spokane area for the first annual Michael Roos Foundation Fish & Chip Tournament June 10-12, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Michael and Katherine Roos are both graduates of Eastern. Michael graduated in 2005 with a double major in finance and economics, and Katherine graduated in 2004 with a degree in urban and regional planning. They now reside in Nashville, Tenn., where Roos earned All-Pro honors for the Titans in 2008. He has started all 80 regular season games as a Titan, plus two playoff games, 21 pre-season games and the 2009 Pro Bowl.

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. Roos was drafted in the second round (41st pick overall) by Tennessee in the 2005 draft.

Built in 1967, the stadium has had a grass field since its inception. Modern artificial turf provides a safe, fast, low-maintenance surface for football, and is particularly desirous in regions with inclement weather. Eastern will be the sixth of nine universities in the Big Sky Conference to convert to artificial turf. The turf installation will also benefit EWU and the environment through a savings of approximately 300,000 gallons of water per year.

 

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