Why Would WSU Drop the Turf Management Program?

by Bill Ackerlie, WWGCSA
Nov 12, 2018

I had the opportunity to sit down with Professor Richard Koenig, the Interim Chair of the Departments of Crop and Soil Sciences and Horticulture at WSU.

I have had conversations with some of you about the dearth of talent that our industry seems to be attracting lately, and attributing some of the issue to the perceived demise of the Turfgrass Management program at WSU.  So I asked Professor Koenig about exactly that: “why would WSU ‘drop’ the turf management program since it is a leader in agriculture management in the Northwest.”  His reply was the program has been a victim of unfortunate circumstances related to retirements, budgets and the 2008 downturn.  But he stressed that the program was not dead, but rather in a holding pattern.  I asked him to put in writing his description of the status of the WSU turfgrass management program so I could share it with all of you.  You’ll find it in its entirety below: 


Thanks for dropping by my office to visit ahead of the Cal game.  We discussed the state of the turfgrass management program at WSU.  As I mentioned, we have been in a holding pattern while WSU addresses internal budget issues and can return to a more normal hiring situation.  We do anticipate having a future presence in turf but the program will likely focus on germplasm development and breeding.  We still have the turfgrass management major but have not been actively recruiting into this major until we have a faculty member to anchor and deliver the two turf content courses.  I appreciate the interest on the part of industry to invest in this program.  That would go a long way to show support and perhaps allowing us to hire a person focused on management to complement grass development.  I would welcome further discussions in this area.  I hope you enjoyed the game.  Go Cougs!