SHS receives donations for turf, scoreboard

January 15, 2011

Mustang Bowl

Next season, the Sweetwater Mustangs will be stomping on new turf, thanks to another generous donation from past Sweetwater High School graduate, Larry Durham.
Durham is a member of the class of 1961 and past owner of Durham Transportation, a private school bus company.
"We had been saving and preparing for this, but thanks to the generous and much appreciated donation, this improvement will be done without having to dip into those funds," Sweetwater Independent School District superintendant Terry Pittman said.
Sweetwater High School was one of the first high schools in West Texas to make the switch from grass to Astroplay turf nine years ago. According to Pittman, the cost to make the switch was rather costly, but also one that was met through the funding of Durham.
"He (Durham) wanted to see the switch happen and he provided the funding for it," Pittman said. "It was a generous donation and one that was and still is very much appreciated."
The new turf will be installed by Hellas Construction, a company based out of Austin. The school board decided on the company, after reviewing and hearing presentations from numerous other companies. Due to the respected reputation and current experience with the company, Pittman said that the school board decided that Hellas would be the best choice for this particular situation.
"They are the ones that installed our track a few years back," Pittman said. "The board made their decision after reviewing the company's reputation and background."
Hellas has installed numerous fields, including the one at the Dallas Cowboy stadium. They also included in their presentation their guarantee to not only stand behind their product, but to do so in a timely manner if the need should ever occur.
The decision for the new turf came after a testing company came out and surveyed the current field. According to Pittman, the turf is still safe, but is beginning to show signs of tremendous wear.
"We played nine seasons on the current turf," Pittman said. "Now, it is becoming unsafe to play on, and there are safety hazards that are beginning to appear."
According to Pittman, the new turf will be laid upon the current underpadding which should make the process short. The estimated time is three weeks. The work will begin at the beginning of March and should be completed by the end of the month.
"Having turf has allowed us to open up the field to the community and other school groups," Pittman said. "We don't have to worry about the field getting messed up or over used. Everyone can take advantage of it."
With the installation of turf, maintenance becomes almost non-existent. There is no watering or painting of lines that has to be done. About once a month, the field is groomed with a roller that is included in the installation cost.
"Last year we were able to have eight playoff games and several other varsity games in Mustang Bowl," Pittman said. "We have also been able to save about $30,000 to $35,000 per year in maintenance costs."
In 2002, when the turf was first installed, there were 11 playoff games that took place at the Bowl. With the added games, the entire community benefits; local restaurants and hotels see increased activity which helps boost the local economy. Also shortly after, the Sammy Baugh Classic was started, according to Pittman. Pee-wee football is also able to take advantage of the field, as well as the high school band and off season sports.
"There are studies that show turf may be safer to play on that actual grass," Pittman said. "Another advantage is that it's all-weather; games don't have to be cancelled due to inclement weather."
This time around the installation will be around $390,000, with no burden to the tax payers. According to Pittman, the first time around is more expensive due to the extra changes that have to be made for the conversion. The turf will come with an eight to 10 year guarantee.
"The product is a much better product than they had nine years ago," Pittman said. "We are expecting this to last the full eight years if not even longer."
Once the new turf has been installed, there will be one added addition; the field will take the name Durham Field, in honor of Durham's generous donation.
"It's great that he wants to give back and it is something that will continue to be greatly appreciated," Pittman said. "This will be Durham's 50th class reunion and we intend on making a special presentation, to show our gratitude."
Sports and community seems to be what it is all about; in addition to the donation for the new turf, Ron Stein has also made a donation for a new score board. Stein, owner of Texas TST, Inc. donated $12,000 for a new high school score board, which has already been installed in the SHS gym.
"It's nice to know that we have so many great citizens here that are willing to help out the school," Pittman said.



January 28, 2011 by quiensabe (not verified), 4 years 31 weeks ago
Comment: 120

The Newman family is one of the "so many great citizens here that are willing to help out the school." Why not "Newman Field?" Why not "Pan Zareta Field?" She was trained at the Newman stables where Mustang Bowl is now. She still holds records for the Kentucky Derby. What about "WPA Field?" That's who built it.

One of our local citizens, Tom Henderson, is part of the Newman family and he does good things for Sweetwater year after year, not just occasionally. Why not “Henderson Field?” The Newman family donated the land. Sweetwater High School was “Newman High.”

Let’s get our priorities straight.

Mustang Bowl

January 27, 2011 by milagibson (not verified), 4 years 31 weeks ago
Comment: 119

It appears several readers misunderstood the article about naming the field after Durham - my generous classmate SHS Class '61. The Bowl will remain MUSTANG BOWL- no plans ever to rename the Bowl- the turf- field- is a separate thing from the famous Bowl- they are only naming the turf- Durham Field. The responses reveal the strong loyalty and fond memories so many of us have for MUSTANG BOWL.

my you have a great memory

January 25, 2011 by dave17dog (not verified), 4 years 31 weeks ago
Comment: 118

Mrs. Smartt,
To be able to think back to those days I spent in the Hub City. Unfortunately I had too many concussions to understand the difference between Bowl and Field or on the Caprock, Stadium or Field. LOL. And those of my era are way too old to have had the corporate naming of anything. It was just plain ol' Jones Stadium.
I was happy to read the clarification as to the remedy that was brougt forth by the Board. I wonder if our concern may have made any difference.

Mustang Bowl

January 23, 2011 by dave17dog (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 115

I'm a little confused with Mrs. Smartt's comment about the bowl. Will it have 2 names....Mustang Bowl or Durham Field???

You played at Tech. I would

January 24, 2011 by ksmartt (not verified), 4 years 31 weeks ago
Comment: 116

You played at Tech. I would think you understand the concept. AT&T Field at Jones Stadium ring a bell? Do you say you are going to Jones Stadium for a game or do you say AT&T Field?


January 21, 2011 by ksmartt (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 114

Mustang Bowl is a powerful piece of history and tradition in Sweetwater. Ten years ago due to a very generous benefactor, turf was added at Mustang Bowl. That same benefactor, Larry Durham, is now making it possible for the turf to be replaced. Although Mr. Durham has not wanted any recognition for his million dollar donation, the Administration and the School Board Trustees feel strongly that he should be honored for his kindness and generosity. The field at Mustang Bowl will be named Durham Field. The bowl always has been and will remain Mustang Bowl.

Kathy Smartt

Mustang Bowl

January 19, 2011 by Joe Mayfield (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 112

I also commend Mr. Durham for his generosity over the years. As well, I agree that there are numerous individuals who deserve to have Sweetwater's football field named after them. However, the name "Mustang Bowl" is a tradition, known by football fans all over the state. It can't be named after one person without snubbing someone else, at least in perception. I think it should remain the Mustang Bowl. Find something else to name for generous donors and past students who have gone to become great in their respective fields.-Joe Mayfield


January 18, 2011 by ACowboysWife (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 108

I echo the others. Donations are a blessing but just cause you give one means you get the entire field named after you? What about tradition folks. I agree with the above..if any two should hold the honor of having it named after them it's "two biggest football legends, Sammy Baugh and Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, members of the NFL Hall of Fame"

Lori Falcon

SHS receives donations for turf, scoreboard

January 18, 2011 by rahntwo (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 107

This is so typical of the way things are done in Sweetwater. Anything serious, like a coal plant . or a facility releasing ex cons into our community, or changing the name of the MUSTANG BOWL, is never even discussed publicly or even mentioned in the newspaper until it is considered a done deal by those we have elected to REPRESENT US! You elected persons seem to have forgotten that you are supposed to represent us, and not just make the decisions that you want to make, and then claim to be representing the people who elected you. And all because some people are throwing money at the city, or at you. And you, Ms. newspaper reporter, it was so nice how you just tried to slide that little bit of news in at the last moment, almost like an afterthought which you hoped no one would notice. Why would anyone ever even consider calling it anything but The Mustang Bowl? Maybe we could hold out for a REAL donation, then we can call it the "Tenaska Coal Ash Producing Plant Bowl. It's a real shame that's the way business is done in Sweetwater. People, please think about this and let your objections be known.

naming of Mustang Bowl

January 17, 2011 by dave17dog (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 106

Kuddos to Mr. Durham, BUT I have a problem with naming it Durham Field. If I had the money to do the same I'd honor our two biggest football legends, Sammy Baugh and Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, members of the NFL Hall of Fame. If I had the moola I'd name it the Baugh/Turner Bowl if it had to be named at all. If I can bid on it to pay this same amount I'll be happy to do so. It's not about me, its about those who laid the foundation. Otherwise I'd leave it as Mustang Bowl. Those of us who played there in the past will always think of it as such or, as during our playing days, "The Snake Pit".
Please don't sell out to money just to change the name of a field that we will always remember as our home.
Many thanks,
David Mayfield (class of '72)

Naming of Mustang Bowl

January 18, 2011 by chagg23 (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 110

There are many names that could have been selected as a name for "Mustang Bowl". It could be W.T. Stapler Bowl, Tom Ritchie Bowl, of course, Sammie Baugh or Bulldog Turner Bowl. I would almost guarentee that any person that has walked down the ramp into "Mustang Bowl" as a player or a coach for the "Big Red" would hate to see the name change. I have spoken to many opposing players and coaches that hated to make the walk because of the mystic, the fans, and the fact that is was obvious that you were in for a long night in "the Snake Pit". Pleae take a hard look at the trdition and the "heart-felt emotions of the players and fans.
"Go Red"
Charles Haggard (Coach, Teacher, Counselor (SISD employee 31 years)

Re-naming Mustang Bowl

January 18, 2011 by Denise Friend (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 109

I TOTALLY second David Mayfield's comments on re-naming THE BOWL to Durham Field. That's awesome that Mr. Durham wants and has the finances to do such a deed. BUT for ALL of the graduates of SHS and any and everyone that has ever played in the Bowl, watched any type of performance in the Bowl, or even "jumped the fence" on any given weekend to have a "pick-up" game of any sort just to play in Mustang Bowl, will tell you that changing the name would be a MAJOR mistake. I have a picture on my desk of my brother and his family standing in the middle of the bowl where their sports pictures were taken and it's incredible how many people have looked at that picture and said "that's Mustang Bowl", I've played there, or coached there, or whatever. EVERYONE knows where THE Mustang Bowl is and more than likely has a story to tell along with it. Ask someone like Kent Boatright how it acquired the nickname "The Snake Pit." PLEASE LEAVE IT AS IS.
Thank you so much,
Denise (Neicy Hunt) Friend (class of 76)


January 17, 2011 by TrojanMom (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago
Comment: 105

I appreciate Mr.Durham donating the money for the field and the benefit to the students is just wonderful. BUT please DO NOT CHANGE the name of the bowl. Maybe an alternative like Durham field at Mustang Bowl but not just Durham Field. Too many memories and too many kids have played there to change the name of the field. Just my opinion, but think if more alumni were aware there might be more opposition!

Mustang Bowl

January 25, 2011 by Michael Bredemeyer (not verified), 4 years 31 weeks ago
Comment: 117

"Mustang Bowl" should always be known as "Mustang Bowl". That is "History" as in the "Alamo" as to anyone who or whom has played there according to Mrs. Middleton (My English Teacher). Many a Football Player who has spilled blood on and in the soil and grass of the "Football Field" in "Mustang Bowl" will atest or as we say in West Texas "Swear to that". Anyone who has donated their time and money to our school distict over the years should be given credit also! To what extent should not be left up to a governing few. I ust to (as we say in "West Texas") as a child watch this man play football in our "Mustang Bowl". I looked up to him as a hero ! I doubt that I was the only one! I bet if you asked him he would be ill at ease to admit to being such a person. Over the years as I learned of all the "Great" people that had attended "Newman High School" or "Sweetwater High School" as our school board decided to change it to (please correct me if I am wrong )I have become aware or as some "West Texas" people still say "learn't" that each and everyone deserves our thanks! From the "A" student to everyone that has contributed or at the very least tried to be a contributer to the success of their "High School Alma Mater".
To Mrs. Lila Middleton (My English Teacher In 6th Grade & High School), my sincere regrets for any mistakes I have made in this sincere post!
Too all of you in Sweetwater (My Home), Texas we have more to concern ourself with in this world than our football field in "Mustang Bowl".

Wish I was there ! Michael Bredemeyer

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