LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Kentucky will be playing the first game on its new surface at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday in their season opener against Louisville. The turf has been named "C.M. Newton Field" in honor of the former athletics director, who will be recognized in a pregame ceremony.
"This is a tremendous, tremendous honor," said Newton, who was athletics director from 1989 until his retirement in the summer of 2000. "I've always loved football and to have your name associated with a football facility in this league is very much appreciated.
"Even though the initial announement came a long time ago, it still doesn't seem real. I'm looking forward to gameday, just to see if they'll really do it."
The evidence is already there. Under the scoreboard in the East end zone, "C.M. Newton Field" is painted in large blue letters opposite the words "Commonwealth Stadium" on the right hand side.
Renovation of the playing surface began this winter as the old field --- which was criticized for the high, thick grass and unordinarily large crown --- was dug up and removed. Drainage collection pipes were installed and covered with a sand base. On top is a special soil mixture that is well-suited for water drainage, with Bermuda grass replacing the old bluegrass.
The field is expected to be able to handle a heavy rain. Up to 12 inches of water can be drained per hour.