Good thing Kenny Mann isn’t very vain.
Because after Wednesday evening, the Salado boys basketball coach is going to have a hard time looking in the mirror without laughing.
In a show of team camaraderie, Mann joined his players in bleaching his naturally brown hair blonde during the Eagles’ playoff run.
“It’s different, so I just kind of laugh at myself a little bit, but I try not to look in the mirror too much,” Mann said.
Following a District 22-2A meeting between the other coaches Wednesday afternoon, Mann had is wife apply the bleaching mixture that evening and then waited an hour before his new yellow ‘do emerged.
“It was an experience, it definitely burns your scalp, and it stinks horribly,” said Mann, who bared the brunt of comments and jokes from Salado colleagues and students Thursday. “Somebody told me I was the ugliest blonde they’ve ever seen — that was kind of hurtful (laughs).”
This past week, the entire No. 15 Eagles basketball team dyed their hair blonde, several having more success than others with some players’ hair featuring a more orange hue than blonde. Of course, there were a few players who didn’t go all blonde, such as senior post Sam Barrett opting not to color his thick sideburns.
“This was all player-initiated activity here, they decided they wanted to do something as a team, something crazy,” Mann said. “Even if it was something everybody else laughed at, just something that they could do together as a team, a fun bonding thing to do.”
Although Mann is hoping his team will be sporting their playoff-blonde looks for several more weeks, he admitted he’s expecting some embarrassing looks when he walks around the small Salado town with his blonde dye job.
“I always preach to them to put the team before themselves, so I figured it was a good opportunity to practice what I preach by doing that for them, and putting my pride on the back-burner,” Mann said.
The awkwardness begins at 6:30 tonight with a game to decide the first and second seed between co-District 22-2A champions Salado and Jarrell at Jarrell High School.
“Games are going to be a different story, of course we’re going into it together as a team so we’ll all get ridiculed together,” Mann said.
The No. 15 Eagles (25-7, 13-1 22-2A) have won 12 of their last 13 games, with the lone loss coming against the No. 14 Cougars (28-3, 13-1) on Jan. 29.
In their last meeting, also at Jarrell, the Cougars knocked off Salado 57-55 in an overtime thriller after pulling ahead with 1 1/2 minutes left in the overtime period. The Eagles upset then-No. 3 ranked Jarrell 57-48 in their first meeting on Jan. 5 at Salado.
“We’re going to get a lot more good out of playing each other because of the intensity and everything then we would get from playing a practice game that doesn’t have as much meaning,” Mann said. “Just the atmosphere is so much fun, that to have a chance to have that atmosphere again, I don’t think either one of us could pass that up.”
Contact Alex Byington at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7566