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McLendon pleased with stadium progress

Greenville High School head coach Josh McLendon has has been keeping a close eye on the Tiger Stadium renovations. (File photo)

Greenville High School head coach Josh McLendon has has been keeping a close eye on the Tiger Stadium renovations. (File photo)

Greenville High School head coach Josh McLendon has spent much of the summer wearing a path between Tiger Stadium and his home on Stewart Avenue.

The second-year head coach wasn’t making the trek to check on the Tigers. He was keeping a close eye on grass sprigs that were planted on the stadium’s playing surface.

In May, as part of a renovation to the facility, all the turf was removed from the field so it could be graded to add a crown to assist with drainage.

Work began on the field following Greenville High School’s graduation ceremony on May 23.

Along with creating a crown and sprigging the field, new sprinklers were installed and a new fence will be constructed to surround the playing surface. Northport-based Sur-Line Turf, Inc., is overseeing the project.

“The field is great,” McLendon said.  “I know everyone saw it the Fourth of July and probably freaked out a little. It looked terrible. I went and looked at it yesterday and it looks good.

“I think I walk over there every day just to look at it. For a while I think we went at least twice a day because it wasn’t looking too good. The kids wanted to ride their bikes, so I’d say, ‘Come on. Let’s go to the stadium.’ We’d walk over and do a family check of the progress. It’s in great shape and I think it will be all the way ready when it’s time to play.”

McLendon said there are a few bare spots, but he expects those to fill in before the Tigers take the field for their season opener at the end of August.

“They fertilize it once a week,” he said. “They water it once a day and they started cutting it two weeks ago. It’s nice when it rains to see that water run off the field instead of puddling up in the middle of the field like it had done.”

The fence surrounding the playing surface is slated to be installed next week with the goalposts set to be installed the following week, according to McLendon.

“I think it’s going to be a totally different looking place,” he said.

What he’s hoping doesn’t change is the home field advantage the Tigers have enjoyed. Greenville is 12-1 at home since 2014.

“You don’t want your stadium to be super comfortable for the opposing team,” McLendon said. “Last week they were talking about setting sidelines for the goalposts and they asked me if I wanted to give the opposing team a little more room because that sideline is pretty tight. I said, ‘Heck no. No way. Make sure it’s as tight as you can make it over there.’”

McLendon said he hopes to see more improvements made to the facility in the coming years, such as adding dressing rooms for both the Tigers and the visiting team.

“I think we’ve got a chance to make that stadium something special,” he said. “I love playing there. Our kids love playing there. It’s not where we need it to be yet, but I’m hoping we get there in a the next few years.”

Greenville will make its debut in the renovated stadium Aug. 18 when it plays host to Stanhope Elmore in a preseason contest. The game is slated for 6 p.m.