This is Blaine Taylor. He coaches Old Dominion. Now, I haven’t reviewed all 68 teams in the NCAA tournament based on the facial hair of their coaches, but I have to imagine that this is one of the best two or three mustaches in the tournament. Barry Svrluga, sitting next to me, agrees that it’s a lock for a top-four mustache seed. Maybe the top overall.
So this means, with the Monarchs in D.C., at least one idiot reporter is going to start asking questions.
“We love the mustache,” forward Nick Wright told me. “We love that. That’s what keeps us going. We go to an away game, and everybody want to say, ‘Hey, Blaine, the mustache, blah blah blah. But it’s like, ok, it’s all right. That guy has a winning team with that mustache.”
Well, this was a good start. How about more funny quotes?
“Oh, it’s horrible,” said starting shooting guard Kent Bazemore. “I’m kind of jealous I can’t get it, but it’s kind of horrible. It’s huge, man, but I’m used to it now. Four years, you know what I mean. You can’t see his top lip, all you can see is this,” he said, putting his finger over his lip. “It’s easy to make eye contact with coach; you just look at his mustache and follow that.”
“Amazing,” said Trian Iliadis. “I wish I could grow something like that. I’ve been trying to for a few years now, but it doesn’t reach that level.”
“I’m not gonna speak on the subject, because I’ve got to play here for four more years,” freshman Richard Ross said, before eventually comparing Taylor to Stan Van Gundy and praising the stache for being “well-groomed.”
“They call him Mario,’ Dimitri Batten said. “Different fans, they call him Mario.”
“I guess it works for him,” Josh Hicks said. “I guess it works for him, though.”
“He tries to call himself John Wayne,” said Iliadis, who’s Australian. “I think he’s a movie star. I’ve never really seena movie with John Wayne in it, so I’m probably gonna have to watch a movie to see. I don’t know, does he have a mustache? I don’t even know who John Wayne is.”
Clearly it was time to move on to Taylor himself. The coach told me that he’s had a mustache since he was very young. He said his children, who are in their late 20s, have never seen him without a mustache. And he said the stache is here to stay.
“It’s because you can’t see me swearing on TV,” he joked, before John Feinstein assured him that you could, in fact, see him swearing on TV. “It becomes a little bit more of a curiosity, like the Jeff Fishers of the world. I’ve just had a mustache all the time. I don’t know. I’m just an old western sheriff, I guess.”