Laying the groundwork: Beaver Stadium grounds crew chief Mark Kresovich meticulous about the field

September 8, 2014 in Awards

1qEENL.AuSt.42Mark Kresovich extends his right hand to a Beaver Stadium visitor on a warm, sunny, late July afternoon.

Calloused, cracked and dry, Kresovich’s hands have all the markings of a seasoned laborer. His grip is firm and inviting as he slides his slick, mirror-lensed sunglasses up over his sunburned forehead and welcomes outsiders inside his domain with a wave.

“We’re getting ready to line it all up for paint,” Kresovich says, nodding toward the south end zone, where members of his Beaver Stadium grounds crew are measuring and stretching strings across the mammoth stadium’s immaculate, freshly cut Kentucky bluegrass.

For the next few weeks, Kresovich and his six-man Beaver Stadium grounds crew will be out here. They’ll be on their hands and knees measuring and painting, seated on mowers, walking behind aerifiers and spraying machines, working to prepare one of college football’s finest playing surfaces for its 54th season.

Kresovich has had a hand in readying Penn State’s field for the past 22 of them. And he’s been shaping parts of the University Park campus landscape in some form for the past three decades. This is the most exciting time of year for the 53-year old Wingate native.

Soon, he’ll get to see his handiwork and that of his men — crew members Paul Curtis, Doug Rosefsky, Larry Gawryla, Rod Hockenberry, Chad Alterio, team mechanic Jay Shook and their supervisor, Herb Combs — put to use.

It could be the last time, however.

Kresovich, the crew’s leader and second-in-command after Combs, Penn State’s supervisor of athletic fields, isn’t sure what his future will hold. He’s mulling retirement after this season but realizes a new slate of Penn State football games will bring new challenges that keep him coming back every day.

“I’m getting real close,” Kresovich says. “I don’t know when I’m going to go because I love what I’m doing. I really enjoy this.”