A Tribute to Joe Paterno's Glasses: Ranking College Football Coaches' Signature Apparel
With the recent report that Joe Paterno has undergone successful laser eye surgery, it seems "Joe Pa" will now move past his signature, Coke bottle eyewear. However, Paterno is not the only coach known for signature apparel. With many coaches known for their own personal style, here is a list of the top 10 best signature apparels.
Honorable Mention: Charlie Weis' Sweatshirt
Weis makes the honorable mention list here because his signature was over before it even made a place for itself in college football. As Weis tried to bring the sweatshirt style to college football like his mentor, Bill Belichick, brought to the NFL, he did not succeed.
After back-to-back, 6-6 seasons, Weis was fired from Notre Dame and his 4XL sweatshirt will not be on the sidelines in 2010. If anything, this could save the bookstore money given it was rumored that Weis asked them to put two sweatshirts together, in order to have one that fit. The Weis era is over in South Bend and fortunately, so is the sweatshirt's.
Honorable Mention: Lane Kiffin's Visor
Lane Kiffin receives an honorable mention because he only has one full year of head coaching experience in college football. Kiffin began his visor style in the NFL before bringing it to the college game. It will take time for Kiffin to make the visor his signature as other coaches have done. However, with Kiffin's youth, we could see the visor on the USC sidelines for many, many years.
Let's hope Kiffins signature visor lasts longer than his stay at Tennessee.
No. 10: Dan Hawkins' Sunglasses
Barely breaking into the top ten is Colorado head coach, Dan Hawkins. Hawkins is known for the signature black sunglasses he sports during day games. Hawkins is going to have to turn his misfortunes around soon, or the sunglasses may be off the sidelines in Boulder.
Whether it's the sun or the poor play of his Buffaloes, Hawkins seems to need to cover his eyes year, after year.
No. 9: Ralph Friedgen's Gut
Coach Ralph Friedgen was a former Walter Camp, and Home Depot Coach of the Year award winner. He turned Maryland into a contender during his first season, and they have been ranked many times since.
On the other hand, Friedgen won't always be remembered for his winning. The former offensive lineman has never lost his appetite, retaining a gut that's become a signature around all college sports. There is a reason the coach is nicknamed, "The Fridge."
In this day and age where good nutrition is highly valued, and former coaches endorsing products such as NutriSystem, don't expect Friedgen to be in those conversations any time in the near future.
No. 8: Rich Rodriguez's Wrist Bands
When Rich Rodriguez arrived in Ann Arbor, he brought his signature wristbands with him. Rodriguez has said he wears the red wrist band for leukemia awareness, a disease one of his close friends is dealing with.
It's a nice gesture to wear the red wrist band to gain awareness of leukemia. However, it's also ironic that the wrist band is red, a color that resembles high alert. His status as the Wolverines head coach is on high alert with his job potentially being in jeopardy if he doesn't turn his team around soon.
No. 7: Bob Stoops' Visor
A question going into the new year revolved around whether Bob Stoops would be daunting a new, navy and gold visor for his next gig in college football. However, Stoops is staying put at Oklahoma and so is his visor.
"Big Game Bob" may want to change his visor to a hat in big games since he has become to butt of that saying. Big Game Bob is just 2-7 in his last nine bowl games, losing to Texas four out of the past five years.
No. 6: Les Miles' Hat
Les Miles is known for the white baseball cap he wears on the sidelines in Baton Rouge. After going to LSU in 2005, he has helped the Tigers win plenty of games. In 2007, Miles led the Tigers to a National Championship, where the white hat stood out in the Super Dome.
"Fear the Hat" has become a special phrase around the Bayou, and even led to a "Fear the Hat Day" in Miles' seventh-grade daughter's class at school.
Miles is nicknamed the "Mad Hatter" for his controversial play calling. However, the term should also refer to the hat that will forever be remembered on the LSU sidelines.
No. 5: Bobby Bowden's Straw Hat
It's one thing when a coach has a signature style of their own. It's another thing when the school can sell that signature for profit. At Florida State, Bowden's Straw Hat can be found in the bookstores and all around campus.
Bowden's hat is a big deal because it's different than others. The Straw hat won't be on the Florida State sidelines any longer, but the lasting effect will forever be seen across the stands in Tallahassee.
No. 4: Bear Bryant's Fedora
There are hats, and then there's Bear Bryant's Fedora. Bryant's fedora, like his career win total, became a staple of legacy. The fedora hat even made it on a memorial outside of Legion Field.
Not many coaches would have the will power to wear such a stylish hat like Bryant did. It was important to Bryant as it showed his true sense of humor—the same humor he used on the field...yeah, right.
No. 3: Joe Paterno's Glasses
Known for being the career leader in wins as a head coach in college football, Joe Paterno is also known for his signature Coke bottle glasses. The glasses have now been shed by eye surgery that Paterno went through in the offseason.
The Coke bottle glasses will no longer daunt the sidelines in Happy Valley. It's going to be a sad day the first time Paterno goes on the field without his lenses. At most, the 83-year old will be able to make it a few downs without the glasses on. I'll give him until the spring game to keep the glasses off the sidelines.
No. 2: Steve Spurrier's Visor
The "Ole Ball Coach" comes in at number two because of his style that has brought two other coaches onto this list. Spurrier's visor is now a lasting style all over college football.
If you don't think Spurrier's visor is a national signature, check out what a Georgia fan thought about it:
You think visors are cool now?
No. 1: Jim Tressel's Sweater Vest
Jim Tressel wins the award for having the best signature style in college football. Tressel's sweater vest has been a staple in Ohio on football Saturdays. Tressel is known so much for his sweater vest during games that he has received the nickname, "The Vest".
The Vest has won Tressel many games at Ohio State, and ranks second amongst team apparel sold this year, behind football jerseys. Tressel not only made his mark at Ohio State, but he has also made the vest a trademark as well.