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Coach says goodbye to 'stache for promise to team

News editor

The Marion High girls’ basketball team gleefully anticipated the spectacle that unfolded in Kelly Robson’s garage Monday for the better part of three months.

Armed with an electric razor with a trimmer and assisted by daughter Bailey holding a smartphone as a makeshift mirror, Coach Kelly trimmed away the moustache that few have ever seen him without.

“I would bet there is one person in Marion that’s seen me without a moustache, because I went to seventh grade with Missy Stubenhofer,” Kelly said. “I grew a moustache when I was a sophomore in college and it’s never come off.”

The Warriors were 2-3 on the season when Kelly told Bailey that he would shave the moustache if the girls won 12 games.

“I didn’t think our team needed motivation or anything like that,” he said. “But I just said maybe if this team wins 12 games I’ll shave my moustache. She wanted to see me without a moustache. She jumped at the idea.”

While Kelly secretly hoped the deal would stay between Bailey and him, he knew better.

“The next day I went to school and said, ‘Hey, guys, we have to win 12 games,’” Bailey said.

The team embraced the fun, even creating a special hashtag, #nostache, as they started a countdown to their 12th win.

Kelly didn’t remember what game it was when they reached the milestone, but Bailey did.

“At Bennington,” she said. “I don’t know if he really realized it was win No. 12.”

While Kelly took some gtood-natured ribbing from the girls that night, the moustache stayed in place.

“I don’t think it was a superstition thing necessarily, but they didn’t want me to shave it off during the season,” he said. “Of course, we didn’t stop at 12, we got to 16. I obviously undershot the mark a little bit.”

As the girls headed back into the house after the de-fuzzing ceremony, comments ranged from “It looks so weird,” to “He looks so much younger.”

Taelyn Pagel’s assessment drew the loudest laughs.

“He went from a 4 to a 10,” she chuckled.

Kelly’s wife, Susan, presented him with a fake black moustache, and said the new look didn’t startle her.

“The rest of the head is still bald the way it’s been,” she said.

She wasn’t sure when Kelly might grow the moustache back, but at one point he suggested it could begin as early as spring break next week.

Last modified March 10, 2016

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