Friday, August 2, 2013
Hugh Eggersman remembers his “leather head” days back at North Augusta, and now he works to ensure that this generation of young players have memories of their own.
He began working on the North Augusta High School stadium’s football field in 2007 when Mike Schneider, athletic director at the time, and principal Kyle Smith were “having a hard time keeping the field straight,” Eggersman said.
In 2007, Eggersman retired from Westinghouse, and he began working with the field. Schneider and Smith thought they needed someone dedicated for it.
Eggersman said the field is like a larger version of yards that many must take care of themselves.
“As far as the field goes, it’s almost like your yard,” Eggersman said. “I think the enjoyment comes from doing it for the football team, whether they appreciate it or not, but I’m sure they do. That makes you feel good about doing it. But as far as cutting the grass and weeding? That ain’t no fun.”
He puts hours of time into the field, working mornings and nights to make sure that it is ready for football on Friday nights.
“Doing the lines and painting the field, depending, can be somewhere between 10 and 15 hours,” he said.
He does not know if he will always work to take care of the Jacket’s stadium, but he has no problem with making this a permanent job.
“There’s an endpoint to everything,” Eggersman said. “I plan to do this as long as I’m capable. It’s good exercise, and it keeps me out of trouble.”
He was born and raised in North Augusta, and has his own memories from the field.
“When I played, there were people who were around, and I knew they did this and that, but didn’t realize what a big contributor they were to what we were doing,” Eggersman said. “As I got older, I realized what big contributors they were to the football program that didn’t have anything to do with winning or losing. It had to do with how we felt about ourselves.”
He played both defensive and offensive positions, so he said he was constantly on the field. Eggersman said that after high school, many of these players may never take to a field again, and he wants them to have great moments to look back on.
“If you know someone is trying to make something nice for you, it makes a difference,” Eggersman said. “We do flyovers, motorcycles and have smoke in the tunnel. I don’t know of many high schools that put on that type of presentation for their players.”
Although many of them will not continue playing after they receive their high school diplomas, he said it is nice to know that the underclassmen “can’t wait until they can run through that tunnel.”
When Eggersman is not putting in work on the field, he spends time with his family. His grandson, Emmerson Jones, 4, is “always attached to him,” according to Eggersman.
Jones has even been a part of his grandfather’s work process.
“He enjoys watching the show,” Eggersman said. “He even runs through the tunnel.”
He had twin girls that went through North Augusta just like he did, and he has a sense of pride for what he does. He said it is not about the recognition, but the impact that the work has on the community.
“It’s not all easy and fun,” Eggersman said. “But when these boys leave, they will look back and have this high school memory of how good it was.”
Heather Wright is a reporter for the North Augusta Star.