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Daily's Work Seen Nationwide

Saturday, February 21, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Darian Daily addressing the crowd after winning the 2014 Professional Excellence Award from the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation.
Darian Daily wonders if he knows more about paint than grass at this stage of his career. As the Head Sports Field Manager at Paul Brown Stadium and the Cincinnati Bengals, Daily’s expertise on the former has given him a nationwide network of opportunity and exposure.

"It’s funny, in the NFL, a lot of us say we are more paint managers than we are field managers,” he said. "Especially the natural grass guys, who have to watch the weather and time out when they will be able to paint.”

Daily is in his second decade with the Bengals, a job he began in 2003 when Paul Brown Stadium was still filled with lush, living bluegrass. He came to the NFL after managing the natural turf of the Columbus Crew soccer club. 

Darian and his crew have become go-to experts on how to prepare a field for use, no matter the event. For several years now, Daily has been involved in some of the biggest college bowl games. With the same turf in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Daily annually treks to the Big Easy.

Daily’s team consults on the painting and preparation of a field that changes from the home of the Saints to a field showcasing one of the biggest college football matchups of the year. It’s a new look in a short period of time.

"They like us because we will come in and knock it out real quickly for them,” Daily adds. "During a big bowl game, the normal grounds crew has so much setup they have to do, it allows them to turn their staff loose to handle facility needs, while we come in to knock out the field.”

Daily has overseen the painting of the field for six of the last seven Sugar Bowls, not to mention two BCS National Championship Games in that timeframe. Because the Bengals were playing later in the year, Daily couldn’t commit beyond the one game in New Orleans, but has spent past years at a variety of locations around the country. One year, he recalls, 18 inches of snow made for a tricky experience at a particular bowl location.

"It doesn’t matter what happens, they are going to kick the football at one o’clock whether we are ready or not.”

Daily and his team have helped paint the field for six of the last seven Sugar Bowls.
Professionally, the benefits of Daily’s bowl work provide more than just a good view of a good game. Networking with peers around the country has its perks too. Daily shares news of a new strain of Bermudagrass that is working its way north. He is testing that out, in addition to chatting with peers about fraise mowing, a practice used in Europe to thin and remove thatch and Poa annua. (The practice was featured at the 2014 OTF/OSU Turfgrass Research Field Day).

"In my situation, I’ve got a lot of contacts around the country that I’ve learned from. I’ll try out a lot of the new things in our area, which is nice.”

Daily’s sustained excellence with the Bengals, not to mention his professional growth in the industry around the country, earned him the Professional Excellence Award at the 2014 OTF annual conference and show. While he jokes that he has no idea how he won and that he must have "faked it” enough to earn the award, the recognition was a humbling experience.

"It was an honor,” he said. "Especially in OTF, there’s not many sports field managers who are there. It was quite shocking. I was happy to receive it.”

Article written by Will Haskett

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