When Pine Lake Prep started talking about a football field, Brett Hayford knew just one thing.
He wanted something different.
He certainly got it. The gray turf field is arguably the most unique in the county. It’s something the school takes great pride in, that makes it stand out in all video footage – and that has led to some minor adjustments in other sports. But it’s so popular at the school they reference the entire compound as The Grey.
Hayford, now the athletic director, said he was talking with then-headmaster Chris Terrill when they came up with the idea for the unique field.
“I just want to do something different, something that everybody will know its Pine Lake; something that’s just not ordinary, I guess you’d say,” he remembered of that conversation.
They looked to the red field of Eastern Washington, or the perhaps best known blue of Boise State.
An idea was born.
Their school colors are navy and gray. He gray sounded good, so they did some research and landed on that as the final plan.
“We talked to the turf company and that was kind of what we came up with based upon they had just done the same field at Eastern Michigan as a gray artificial turf,” hayford said.
And then it took off.
He gets questions all the time. Is it different to take care of? He says no. One perk, he says, is the temperature is a little less on the field because it’s not dark. Kids at the school look forward to the day when they can play on the gray field. Opponents know when someone was playing Pine Lake in a video because of the background.
The lone change it has led to? That’s for the soccer and lacrosse teams.
“Our soccer team, they like the colored ball instead of the white,” he said. “With the white football lines and the gray field, it kind of blends in. That has forced us to use yellow balls in lacrosse, which we didn’t have when we first built the gray artificial turf.”
Otherwise, it’s worked out nicely.
And it’s added a bit of a cool factor for the team.
“You could hear (opposing players) as they walked up, ‘this is really nice’, ‘this is neat’”, he said. “Just something different. You know how kids are, they want an opportunity to play on something unique or different.”
At Pine Lake, they have just that.