USC Upstate’s Suddeth Earns Certified Sports Field Manager Distinction

January 11, 2019 at 3:52 pm

The University of South Carolina’s long-serving director of building and landscape services has added another feather to his cap. USC Upstate is pleased to announce Bruce Suddeth recently earned the distinction of being a Certified Sports Field Manager.

“I am very excited to earn this certification,” Suddeth said. “This program was started as a way to give sports turf managers an avenue to promote ourselves as professionals. It enables those who work with us and for us to be as professionals as possible. It’s very rewarding to join this elite group.”

The certification is awarded by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), a nonprofit professional organization with more than 2,600 members worldwide that provides education in sports field management. According to the STMA, the program started in 2000 as a “highly visible way” its members could “validate” their commitment to professionalism.

“It confirms to the industry and to those outside of the industry that Certified Sports Field Managers are qualified, competent, and experienced,” the organization said.

“We are extremely proud of Bruce for earning the Certified Sports Field Managers distinction but certainly not surprised,” said Sheryl Turner-Watts, chief financial and operations officer and vice chancellor for finance and administration. “Bruce is constantly working to grow his knowledge as a landscape professional and as a leader and we are the beneficiaries of both. Bruce and his team understand the big picture, that what they do is a part of the larger plan for having a great campus experience for student athletes, students, faculty, and staff.”

Suddeth is a native of the Inman community of Spartanburg County. After graduating from Chapman High School, he attended Spartanburg Methodist College before transferring to Spartanburg Community College and earning an Associate’s degree in horticulture.

He then landed a position with Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co., where he contributed to the development of turf products first at the textile giant’s Dewey Plant in Inman and later at its headquarters across Interstate 85 Business from USC Upstate.

Suddeth said during his last few years with Milliken he had the opportunity to travel to various universities in Georgia, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, which provided him opportunities to learn some of the nuances of facilities management in a collegiate setting.

After doing some consulting work with USC Upstate, he was encouraged by university leaders to join the team in November 2002. Suddeth made an immediate impact, using his expertise to lead efforts that helped enhance the natural aesthetic beauty on campus.

With Suddeth at the helm, USC Upstate in 2008 became the first public university in South Carolina to be named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The school has continued to maintain that distinction with its campus forestry management and environmental stewardship.

Suddeth has served as the past president of the state’s Turf Managers Association, and is a recipient of the STMA’s 2016 George Toma Golden Rake Award, which honors turf management professionals that go “above and beyond,” according to the association. He has been instrumental in shaping the vision for USC Upstate’s Susan Jacobs Arboretum and leading a team of about 15 full-time employees who have earned recognition by industry publications and garnered several certifications and citations.