The Gabba is on the hunt for a new head curator, with legendary grounds manager Kevin Mitchell Jr. set to retire after this year’s Ashes Test in November.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Mr Mitchell joined The Gabba in 1984 as an assistant curator, and is in his 27th year as grounds manager.
Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said Mr Mitchell would be a hard act to follow.
“The name Kevin Mitchell Jr is synonymous with The Gabba and the pitches he curates are recognised as the best in the world, striking fear into the hearts of visiting cricket teams,” Minister de Brenni said.
“To keep producing an absolute world class deck on a ground that is used all year round, takes a particular talent,” he said
“The impact Kevin has had on Australian and world Cricket is simply immeasurable. The next curator will have absolutely huge shoes to fill.
“I join all Queenslanders in wishing Kevin the best in his retirement after the Ashes this year.
“We are now on the search for someone who is passionate about what they do, someone who can produce, maintain and present a world class, multi-use field of play and keep the wicket at the highest standard for which it’s become renowned and emulate the success Kevin has achieved so far.”
The Gabba grounds manager Kevin Mitchell Jr said the stadium was full of fond memories.
“In the ‘80s we had the really good West Indies teams touring with the likes of Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and the big four fast bowlers and that was an eye-opener for me, I thought what a great place to work,” Mr Mitchell said.
“Then in 1995 we won our first Sheffield Shield final and that was really game-changing for Queensland cricket and then the Lions won their three premierships which was fantastic for the ground and for Queensland as well,” he said.
“Of course the Sydney Olympic pool of the soccer where stage five of the ground redevelopment was completed was a magnificent event where we hosted the eventual gold medallists Cameroon in a blockbuster.
“The Gabba is a famous, iconic, historic stadium and you feel that responsibility to create something that Queenslanders are proud of, you have to love the job, it’s a big part of your life.”
Mr Mitchell took on a part-time role in recent years, and said stepping back had allowed him to take on a mentor role to other staff.
“I’d taken a step back from the physical side of work and engaged in more of a guidance role with the team to see out my contract while helping to recruit my successor,” Mr Mitchell said.
“I want to thank the Grounds Team for their continual efforts to meet the high standards required and maintaining the culture of having great pride in producing quality playing surfaces.”
The Gabba Manager Blair Conaghan said Mr Mitchell would leave a huge legacy at the venue.
“Kevvie Mitchell has meant so much to The Gabba and his work on the playing surface has really been instrumental in a lot of our success as a venue,” Mr Conaghan said.
“It’s been a fantastic journey for him, from the days when it included the old greyhound track to its transformation into the more modern facility it is today and to consistently deliver over such a long period of time is an incredible achievement,” he said.
“Over the past few years Kevvie has worked really hard to pass on that knowledge and expertise to the rest of the grounds team and I’m confident we’ll attract a suitable candidate to help continue his legacy.”
Tristan Douglas (de Brenni) 0447 164 197
Stadiums Queensland 0472 878 519