Local father-son duo honored nationally for their work at Gulfpo - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Local father-son duo honored nationally for their work at Gulfport Sportsplex

Ken and Keair Edwards presented with the STMA Field of the Year award (Courtesy: City of Gulfport) Ken and Keair Edwards presented with the STMA Field of the Year award (Courtesy: City of Gulfport)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Something like Tropical Storm Cindy could be a lot for your average weekend warriors, but for the Edwards family, it's just another day at the office. 

"We'd get out here, drain the water, try to get it out with some pumps or something." 

Meet Ken and Keair, the father-son duo responsible for the upkeep of the Gulfport Sportsplex.

"We've recorded about 1900 hours to maintain it, and that was to put on about 880 games on this field," Ken said as we toured Champs Field.

Ken Edwards came aboard as the Superintendent Turf Manager of the Gulfport Sportsplex when it was little more than a dirt road in 1999. Over a 17 year span, the work became a family affair.

"You know, when most kids were at home watching TV, Keair was up at 6 o'clock with me going to take care of the ball field," Ken said.

"Oh yes, I've definitely grown up with this place," Keair said of the Sportsplex. "I remember when it was just one shop, and that was back before Katrina."

Keair graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in turf management. When Ken retired last year, Keair took over for his dad, adding to an already strong resume. Under the Edwards' care, Champs Field won the Sports Turf Manager Association's Softball Field of the Year award in the Schools and Parks division, becoming just the second surface in Mississippi to win such an award. It's also the only field in the state to be STMA certified for Environmentally Responsible Management.

"Every day, there was some kind of question as to, why we gotta do this, why we gotta do that," Ken said. "At the end of the day, when we brought that award home, then the guys saw the fruits of their labor and said 'oh, that's why we did all that, because it paid off.'"

"Everybody knows my Dad had high standards," Keair said. "I just want to continue to do the same thing and keep up the high standards."

With this award now in tow, Keair looks to keep continuing his father's legacy. But to the Edwards, it's about more than just a family connection.

"Yes, we walk around saying this is an award-winning complex!" Ken said excitedly. "We don't take it personal as a father and son. We take it personal as turf managers."

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