Tennessee Turfgrass Association – Member Spotlight on Tom Samples Professional of the Year Recipient, Bill Marbet
Each year at the annual conference, TTA presents the Tom Samples Professional of the Year Award to a deserving TTA member. This award honors a person who has exemplified the character, work ethic, knowledge and influence required to not only perform the duties of a turfgrass manager, but also to support and grow the industry and its professionals.
You’d be hard pressed to find a sports field manager in Tennessee who hasn’t been influenced, directly or indirectly, by this year’s recipient, Mr. Bill Marbet. His years of service in the sports field business have included everything from dirt to accessories to field renovation and have culminated in 25 years leading the grounds crew for the SEC Baseball Tournament.
Mr. Marbet began his sports field career in a way that will be familiar to many parents – he volunteered to help maintain the fields his children played baseball on. When that work became more than just a means to an end, Marbet says, “I had the opportunity to sell my tire business, and I told my wife that we’re going to take a huge leap of faith and chase the passion.”
That leap of faith paid off in the form of three successful companies and a widespread range of influence in the sports field industry. Marbet says, “In 1996, we started Southern Athletic Fields and grew that until 2018, when we sold SAF to Profile Products. Since then, I’ve done a little for them, but now we’ve branched out and started a couple other companies. We have Game Time Sports Fields, it’s a renovation/grading/whatever needs to be done on an athletic field, we try to do it. Then Line to Line is accessory based – netting and painting, bases, drags, all the other things that I enjoy doing.”
Here’s what TTA members and industry professionals have to say about Mr. Marbet:
“Bill Marbet [is one of my mentors]. When I met him at Tech working the state tournaments, he was one of the big reasons I got the job at Florida, because my boss Jason Smith knew and had worked for Bill. We can call him for any advice, obviously he’s very local to us. He’s willing to help anybody and everybody.”
John Wagnon, City of Franklin Parks and Athletics
“I had a mentor back home in Bill Marbet, who got me into the whole turfgrass thing. Once I found out I wasn’t going to play ball, he was like, ‘Well, you like working on ball fields, let’s see what we can do,’ and he had a contact down at Mississippi State and had me a job lined up on the grounds crew.”
Ryan Storey, Line to Line
“He’s helped me with research, education and friendship. Bill has been such a great friend to our industry and to all of us. He’s done a great job helping us find future sports field managers, helping educate, helping promote growth of our industry. Bill also helps advocate in boardrooms where some of us need the help.”
Dan Bergstrom, Pioneer Athletics
“Bill has been leading the grounds crew at the SEC Baseball Tournament for more than 20 years. He’s played a critical role in making it the best college baseball tournament in America.”
Herb Vincent, Associate Commissioner, SEC
Congratulations, Mr. Marbet! Thank you for your hard work and dedication!READ THE ISSUE