Installation of turf infield at Didier Field begins

11 July 2017

The work to install artificial turf on the infield and foul territory at Ray E. Didier Field has finally started.

During the 2017 college baseball season, Nicholls State University held a ceremony to name the infield at Didier Field “Ben Meyer Diamond” after Tommy Meyer, Ben’s brother, of Meyer Financial Group of Ameriprise Financial donated $500,000 to the university. Ben Meyer was a former Nicholls student who died in a 2001 car crash.

Workers have removed the infield grass, but due to heavy rains over the weekend, there was nothing more done to the infield on Monday. However, the anticipation is the new turf infield and foul territory will be in place by the end of July.

Nicholls head baseball coach Seth Thibodeaux admits he is old-fashion when it comes to having a natural grass infield, but the positives of an artificial turf infield far outweigh the negatives.

“I know the turf will be done and I am fired up about it,” Thibodeaux said. “It is a lot of time our coaches spend out there and now they can spend it with our players. I talked to the coaches at McNeese (State) and Southeastern Louisiana and they said (a turf field) saves up to 20 hours a week working on the field. Now, the players can watch more film and take more swings and not have to worry about cutting and edging the infield. Also no more tarp and when the rain is done, you are ready to play.

“This will be great for us. I am a dirt and grass guy, but with the turf we will never miss a practice and not have to worry about the weather.”

With the installation of the artificial turf will also come a new configuration to the bullpens. The fences along left and right field will cut in toward the outfield isolating the bullpens and eliminating some of the foul territory.

“We will take in foul territory and shrink it and go from the outfield bleachers and cut off the bullpens. It will be enclosed because of the turf,” Thibodeaux said. “We are also going take down the wall in right field. We are not sure how much yet, but it will be somewhere between the scoreboard and right-field foul line and put some dirt. We want to make a little patio area. It will spruce it up and we want to do some small stuff like that all the way around.”

While Didier Field is getting most of the attention right now, there have been other improvements to athletic facilities on campus. The artificial turf was replaced at John L. Guidry during the spring semester and over the past two years there have been improvements done to the office and locker room for men’s basketball and volleyball in David R. Stopher Gymnasium. The tennis courts have also been resurfaced.

“Our facilities in our 14 programs, we are constantly trying to improve and we do have other projects other than baseball,” athletic director Matt Roan said.

Once the turf infield is complete, the hope is the work on completing a new grandstand will begin and future projects, such as a new field house, will commence in the near future. Those projects are depending on money from the state, which has been slow to come.

“We are still dependent on the state to finish (the improvements). but we have raised money to help finish it. I think the money would be there if we get the OK from the state and the next project would be the field house,” Thibodeaux said. “We will know something by July on the field house, but the completion of the grand stand is separate of that.”