94-year old George Toma has retired. Toma spent more than seven decades working in the industry helping training and developing the next generation of sports field management professionals. He also oversaw the fields used for all Super Bowls.
Toma was a key leader in the infancy of the SFMA and will continue to serve as a mentor for many in the sports field management industry.
“The legacy that George Toma began as one of our founders more than 40 years ago has had an impact on every one of our over 2,300 members,” said SFMA President Sun Roesslein, CSFM. “The ‘and then some’ attitude is part of the fabric of our profession, as sports field managers at every level strive to go above and beyond providing the best and safest playing fields possible. His impact on our profession is everlasting.”
Toma’s retirement comes in the wake of a heavily criticized Super Bowl field.
In an interview on ESPN he blamed NFL field director Ed Mangan for sanding the field two weeks too late. “He had only one sanding. He should have had two or three sandings, but he didn’t do s—. And that was it. And not only that, he didn’t take care of it. He wouldn’t listen to anybody.” Toma also said that Mangan overwatered the field on the Wednesday before the game before immediately rolling the retractable field into the stadium, where it was covered with a tarp. Toma said the field started to decay and rot, and its odor was evident.
“I can’t take it anymore,” the now-retired Toma said. “Me and the league are finished. They can’t tell me what to do anymore. We’re done.”