STC Sports Turf Manager of the Year

via Sports Turf Canada

Sports Turf Canada, along with the Guelph Turfgrass Institute, extends a huge congratulations to Mr. Joe Breedon for achieving the Sports Turf Manager of the Year award.  

Joe’s recommendation states “Joe is our Sports Field Coordinator Extraordinaire”.

Joe Breedon, City of Barrie - 2018 Sportsturf Manager of the Year.  Image courtesy STC.

Collins English dictionary defines extraordinaire as:  outstanding or remarkable in a particular capacity.  For those who know Joe, they will admit he is certainly outstanding in his role.  

Who is Joe? 

Joe works for the City of Barrie, Ontario, in the Recreation Department as the Recreation Outdoor Facilities Coordinator.  His position is the lead for over 17 staff members, both full and part time, all of which look after 47 different sports field sites, which house 43 ball diamonds and 56 fields (soccer, rugby, football, etc).  Joe started with Barrie as a part-time staff member in 2000 and became a full time sports field operation in 2007 and has worked his way up to being promoted as a Coordinator looking after all the sports fields in 2014.

His Manager says “Joe likes to learn”.  He attends the conference in Guelph, ON each year, and he has even taken vacation so that he can travel to the United States and experience different conferences, initiative and trends that may be occurring outside our Canadian borders.

He is regarded as an active contributor to the profession and the industry.  One of Joe’s major facilities is the Barrie Community Sports Complex.  A premium sports location for baseball, soccer and rugby.  One of their main tenants is the Barrie Baycats, the present and 3 time winner of the IBL Championships.  Joe works with this organization very well and ensures their facility is one of the best within the league, if not the best.  They receive a lot of feedback from the ball players, those on the Baycats, and those on other teams.  

Here’s what the Baycats had to say about Joe:

“We play an average of 30 games a season and without a doubt the Coates Stadium field at the Barrie Community Sports Complex is the envy of every other team in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL).  Mr. Breedon goes beyond a normal greens-keeper’s role in an attempt to ensure we can play in every possible weather condition. There have been games where it would seem impossible to play a game only to have Joe and his staff put the field in perfect playing condition. He is a student of his profession, always thirsty for more information on how to perfect playing conditions on the field.

Mr. Breedon takes personal pride in the appearance of all aspects inside the park and stadium.  We consider Joe Breedon a very important member of our Team and in fact he and his staff have been our player’s unofficial MVP’s in our last 3 Championship years.“  

“I am a huge fan of Mr. Joe Breedon”
David Mills, President – Barrie Bay Cats Baseball Club

Another wow factor for you:  For the past few years, organizations that have a significant milestone being celebrated (i.e. 25 or 50 yrs), Joe develops a new staff uniform with the anniversary logo embroidered on it, and the shirts/hats are the organizations colours.

Joe does so much to help each organization he supports.

“I have never heard such tremendous support for a turf manager or any other manager for that matter”
Rob Bell, Manager of Recreation Facilities – City of Barrie

Joe’s green initiatives includes reviewing material use for the sports fields and the increased use of nematodes and other organic materials for insect control.  He is also evaluating the amount of fertilizers we use and looking at increasing the gypsum amount to allow for better nutrient update, thereby decreasing the need of an extra fertilizing application.

Joe meets with his team outside of work hours, often arriving with a coffee, to talk about the future of the sports field program and how each and every one of them can contribute to next season.

He is a huge steward for interns and students.  Each season they have 8 students join the team and Joe encourages all to participate in learning more about the business of sports fields.

Joe works very hard at looking for efficiencies and has developed a great maintenance program with the limited budget, which keeps decreasing each year.

“Even with expenses decreasing, we continue to have user meetings and the feedback on the condition of the fields, and the support from our Sports Field Team are overwhelming.”
Rob Bell, Manager of Recreation Facilities – City of Barrie

Sports Turf Canada is the Canadian professional association dedicated to the promotion of better, safer sports turf through innovation, education and professional programs.  In order to further this goal, and to encourage support and acknowledge those working in the sports turf industry, the association established the Sports Turf Manager of the Year Award program.  By sponsoring this award, the Guelph Turfgrass Institute in Ontario wishes to assist Sports Turf Canada in the recognition of sports turf managers who exemplify vision and leadership in the industry.  The award shows appreciation for an individual’s proactive and progressive efforts within the profession and the industry.  More information can be found at: