Nicole Sherry AG '02
Growing up close to Newark in nearby New Castle, Del., Nicole Sherry says she spent countless afternoons playing baseball in the streets with friends. While her love of baseball still remains strong, Sherry has moved onto more illustrious settings. As head groundskeeper of the Baltimore Orioles, Nicole is in charge of maintaining the pristine condition of the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Nicole graduated from the University of Delaware in 2002 with a degree in General Agricultural. She says her time in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources was integral in giving her a career foundation.
"The UD experience has helped my career in many ways," she says. "I believe that the professors and teachers there are committed to helping each student along their chosen career path. The College of Agriculture especially helped because without being introduced to so many different sciences in Agriculture, I would have never learned that I could study turf grass, and be the Head Groundskeeper at one of the coolest ballparks in America!"
Nicole was named Orioles Head Groundskeeper in 2007 after spending three years as head groundskeeper for the Trenton Thunder of the Double-A Eastern League. Before her time in Trenton, Sherry was the Assistant Head Groundskeeper at Oriole Park. She traveled to Newark at least three times a week from Baltimore for her classes, returning each time to work at the ballpark.
"The biggest difference in going from the minor leagues to the Major Leagues is that in the
Major's we are on TV every single night," she says. "Presentation of the field in all ways is constantly critiqued by media, fans, you name it!"
Thankfully, the increased pressure of the big leagues did not faze Nicole due to her previous time with the O's. "Being here as an assistant for three years I knew how to handle many of the situations I was dealt."
"I got an internship after I graduated from Delaware Technical and Community College and during my time at UD that led to an Assistant Head Groundskeeper job at Oriole Park while I was attending school," she says. "In January I took a winter session that I traveled to everyday. I also took an online session during a summer. It was a lot of hard work but worth everything!"
Not only did Nicole's hard work pay off by landing her a job she loves, but it also paid off by placing her at the forefront of her field as one of only two female head groundskeepers in Major League Baseball. Even though Nicole is a female in a male-dominated field, she does not feel as if her gender has had any effect on her career or studies.
"Being a woman in this field was never an issue," she says. "There were many women in my classes in the College of Agriculture. I didn't realize that I was only one of 10 women in Sports Turf at the time I was hired."
A Delaware native, Nicole feels as if UD has always played a role in her life and in the summer of 2008 Nicole gave back to UD at the Baltimore Alumni Club event when she gave a presentation to over 100 alums in the Ballpark Warehouse of Oriole Park prior to an O's game. Nicole spoke about the daily trials and tribulations of field maintenance. Nicole's slideshow and anecdotes were priceless and shortly after her presentation, alumni could look out the windows of the Ballpark Warehouse and see her on the field, preparing the diamond for the game.