Riley Park field again SAL's best

Veteran RiverDogs groundskeeper Mike Williams helped Riley Park to best field honors for the second time in 3 years.


Riley Park has been recognized as having the best baseball playing field in the South Atlantic League.

Under the direction of former New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays head groundskeeper Mike Williams, the Riley Park field earned the award for the second time in three years.

Williams was also recognized as the league's sports turf manager of the year, again for the second time in the past three years.

"This is another well-deserved honor for Mike Williams and his staff for all the hard and behind-the-scenes work that is put into maintaining this field," said Charleston RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols. "Mike works harder than anyone in his industry, and the field confirms it. We're happy as can be for Mike and his staff."

Williams just finished his sixth year in Charleston as head groundskeeper and has been in the business since 1993.

"It is an honor to represent the South Atlantic League, the Charleston RiverDogs organization and the City of Charleston in receiving this award," said Williams. "My work is a labor of love, and I am truly blessed."

A professional groundskeeper since 1993, Williams is a 1989 graduate of Ohio University with a degree in recreation management and a master's in athletic administration that he earned from Ohio in 1991. He furthered his education in turf management at Cornell University from 1995-96.

He received the 1994 Eastern League Groundskeeper of the Year Award and the 1994-95 Beam Clay Professional Field of the Year Award. The Riley Park field was also recognized with the 2009 Sports Turf Manager Award for fields in the South Atlantic League while also being selected as "Best Playing Field" in the league.

Under Williams' guidance, his crew won top honors in the Florida State League in 1999 and 2000 while with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Prior to the 2006 season, he worked on the grounds crew for the World Baseball Classic at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.