Pirate Nation Prepares For First Game | Eastern North Carolina Now | Before East Carolina University's players can take the field for the home game against Western Carolina this Saturday, a lot of hard work, love and faith went into getting Bagwell Field in shape.

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    Publisher's note: The author of this post, Jamie Smith, is a contributor to ECU News Services.

    Nothing compares to Pirate Nation readying for the first kickoff of football season. Before East Carolina University's players can take the field for the home game against Western Carolina this Saturday, a lot of hard work, love and faith went into getting Bagwell Field in shape.

    Two weeks ago, a crowd of 20,000 music fans attended the Carolina Kickoff concert at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. A stage, temporary flooring and seating gave the field a beating. When it was all removed after the Aug. 20 concert, faded and brown turf greeted the grounds crew.

    "My first thought was, we had a lot of work to do," said Joey Perry, director of athletic grounds for ECU.
Bagwell Field following the concert.

    A staff of 11 people have worked tirelessly since then to prepare the field for Pirate players and fans. The staff includes full-time employees Perry and assistant director of athletic grounds Josh Creel and part-time student workers.

    After the concert, the crew surveyed the damage to the field and began re-sodding approximately 34,000 square feet. After the sod was replaced, they began drawing lines, numbers, stenciling and painting the end zones.

    "I'm no neurosurgeon but I can draw a straight line," joked Perry.

    The crew used approximately 120 gallons of paint for the field. The turf - Bermuda 419 - is cut every day, weather permitting, and is 2 inches thick.
Bagwell Field after two-weeks of tireless work to prepare it for ECU's first game of the season.

    As the week comes to a close and field preparation ends, Hurricane Hermine threatens their hard work. Perry is keeping a close eye on the storm. He said he's not worrying too much about it, "it's just the weather - it's the world I live in."

Click here to watch a time-lapse video of the crew recovering after the concert on Bagwell Field.
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