BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The next time Southern fans arrive at Mumford Stadium to see the Jaguars in action they will notice something different about the football field.
The university finally disposed of a field badly in need of repair and replaced it with a brand new, NFL grade synthetic turf.
"You look out the window, you see the colors, but as I look at that field, I see the sweat and tears of many that came before me," said head coach Dawson Odums.
"Southern University and SU Athletics remains committed to providing our student-athletes with a first-rate college experience," said Roman Banks, SU Interim Athletics Director.
Making the new turf possible was a team effort that included the Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the Southern University System Foundation, SMG (Louisiana Superdome Management Company) and UBU Sports, Incorporated.
"Through the support of the Southern University System Foundation, the installation of this state-of-the-art playing surface at A.W. Mumford Stadium addresses any player safety and game day logistic concerns while offering our coaching staff a powerful recruiting tool which also reasserts the SU athletic brand," Banks said.
"We don't know all the effort that went into it, but we're grateful, for all the hands that played a hand in it," Odums said. "I always say the gratification is in the journey. The journey is getting this started. What you see is the reward. And the reward is, something so beautiful, that when you drive by and come on campus, you can say 'that belongs to Southern.' That Southern University football field, I'm grateful to be the head coach and I know the young men in this program, are grateful to have a chance to play on it."
It's not just the football team that will benefit from the new turf.
"I was just thinking when I'm on the sideline and the band is performing at halftime, the middle of the field is full on sand," said Nathan B. Haymer, director of bands at Southern. "And when the band was performing, sand was just kicking up everywhere. It was like in slow motion. It wasn't a good feeling at all. So I am so excited, to get the chance, to put the Human Juke Box on a new field. I am so excited about that."
Southern opens the 2016 season with road games at UL-Monroe and Tulane, before coming home to host Alabama State on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.
The Jaguars will be looking to improve on a 6-5 record in 2015.