Walk­ing On Sun­shine


Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey

LIN­COLN — A dream comes true for Lin­coln ath­letic direc­tor Deon Birkes this week — the Wolves will play on ar­ti­fi­cial turf, newly in­stalled at Wolf­pack Sta­dium.

All the pieces lit­er­ally are fi­nally in place, com­plet­ing a pro­ject that be­gan in early July. Birkes spear­headed an ini­tia­tive to up­grade the play­ing sur­face, a vi­sion he says be­gan in con­ver­sa­tions with for­mer Lin­coln foot­ball coach Brad Har­ris. Af­ter Har­ris left, the dream stayed with Birkes and when cur­rent Lin­coln head foot­ball coach Don Har­ri­son ar­rived the con­ver­sa­tion started once again.

Birkes brought up the idea to Lin­coln su­per­in­ten­dent Mary Ann Spears and found her re­cep­tive. Even­tu­ally the school board be­came in­volved.

“It kind of kept steam­rolling,” Birkes said. “Now here we are.”

Birkes ap­pre­ci­ates com­mu­nity sup­port demon­strated through con­tri­bu­tions to the Wolf­pack Foun­da­tion and ban­ner ads pur­chased by lo­cal busi­nesses. Over half of the $900,000 pro­ject’s cost will be funded through these ef­forts with $500,000 pledged over a 10-year pe­riod.

“It means ev­ery­body is pulling on the rope in the same di­rec­tion,” Birkes said. “You see the vi­sion, not just in our school, but the vi­sion of our com­mu­nity.”

Birkes is ex­cited about kids be­ing able to play on the turf with­out worry about grass be­ing killed.

“In a town our size, for us to raise the money we did — that’s com­mu­nity sup­port.”

Birkes re­sisted pres­sure to play a ju­nior high game Lin­coln hosted against Westville, Okla., on the new turf Thurs­day, pre­fer­ring to do what he says is the right thing and let the se­nior high team be the first Lin­coln ath­letes to com­pete on the new play­ing sur­face Fri­day against Keys, Okla.

As Lin­coln rolls out the green car­pet, Birkes in­vites the com­mu­nity to join in the cel­e­bra­tion. The school is host­ing a tail­gate party start­ing at 5 p.m. Fri­day prior to the 7 p.m. kick­off. A ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing the in­stal­la­tion of the new turf will be held at half­time and a post-game fire­works show will cul­mi­nate the evening. Lo­cal spon­sor­ship en­ables Lin­coln to host a fire­works dis­play af­ter each home game this sea­son.

The 2017 Wolves are go­ing where no Wolf has gone be­fore. In this year of the un­prece­dented, Lin­coln foot­ball walks on sun­shine and they got to feel good.


Lin­coln ath­letic direc­tor Deon Birkes spear­headed an ef­fort to in­stall ar­ti­fi­cial turf at Wolf­pack Sta­dium. The work be­gan in July and was com­pleted this week. A ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony will be held at half­time of Lin­coln’s home game Fri­day against Keys, Okla. A pregame tail­gate party and post-game fire­works show are also part of the cel­e­bra­tion. The com­mu­nity is in­vited to join in and come out and sup­port the Wolves.

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