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After 37 years, ASU's athletics grounds manager retires

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 11:50am

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Brian Johnson mowing grass at Sun Devil Stadium
Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Brian Johnson working at Sun Devil Stadium in 2017.

Whether it’s a weekday intrasquad practice or the Super Bowl, most of us don’t pay much attention to what the playing surface for a sporting event looks like or how it feels. But for the players, the grass or turf needs to be in great shape to help them avoid injuries. And for the biggest games beaming into millions of homes, the TV networks want the field to look bright and colorful.

Brian Johnson was in charge of making games at Arizona State University live up to those expectations, and he’s been involved with the preparation for 26 Super Bowls as well.

Johnson retired earlier this month as the university’s manager of athletic grounds facilities, closing out 37 years at ASU.

The Show spoke with him about the balancing act of having a good, safe playing surface that is also attractive.

Brian Johnson painting Sparky on the field at Sun Devil Stadium
Kylee Meter/Cronkite News
Brian Johnson adds Sparky to the football field before ASU’s 2018 home opener.

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