TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — An Arizona State University groundskeeper known for his field designs is retiring after 37 years. His last design comes before Saturday's Territorial Cup at Sun Devil Stadium.
You might not know his name, but if you've watched any ASU football home game, you've seen Brian Johnson's work. The ASU groundskeeper for 37 years kept Super Bowl grass up to snuff for the legendary games we watched on TV.
Back at Frank Kush Field, he and his team have created memorable designs, including topographical maps of "A" Mountain and Hayden Butte in each end zone and the Twin Towers with the Sun Devils playing on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. "We had a lot of nice compliments on it, so that is one of my favorites, but I can't take credit for that. It was all Josh," said Johnson. That's one of his employees, Josh Lenz. He did help Johnson with his favorite design, his final design. "It's sad," said Lenz.
Sad because Johnson is walking away from the paint. His last week tending to this field ever is just in time for the Territorial Cup against that school down south. "It's just been a great job and I'm going to miss it but years as a groundskeeper, there hasn't been a better place to work. I cannot imagine a better place to work," said Johnson.
You might have known his name but now it's in paint on his favorite piece of art on the field he's manicured for nearly four decades. It was all Lenz's idea. "He stayed in the same position for 37 years and he killed it for 37 years," said Lenz. "I want these people at this game to recognize him for all of his hard work."
Johnson said he's only doing his job, but it's people like Lenz he will always remember about the work. This week, his former student workers from all over the country came back to Sun Devil Stadium and worked with the legendary groundskeeper one last time. "I think when I'm sitting on a beach in Portugal a year from now, I'll be thinking about the people rather than a particular game or field design," said Johnson.
Johnson said he will enjoy retirement by traveling with his wife. He plans on working with the NFL from time to time on Super Bowl groundskeeping.
ASU home game #236 (and last). RETIRING in the Spring after 37 years😊. What a blessing to work my whole career at ASU. Thanks to all the former student workers who traveled back to help paint. See ya at the stadium one last time tomorrow? pic.twitter.com/SV20eqmuHd— Brian Johnson (@bermuda419s) November 26, 2021