Coach loses trademark after bet with team
SHEPHERDSTOWN – Shepherd has had a few close shaves on the football field during the Rams’ undefeated football season.
None like in the team locker room on Tuesday, however.
Coach Monte Cater’s signature mustache went away, courtesy of Shepherd’s seniors who took a razor to it for a deal the team’s seniors made.
“Last year, in winter conditioning, I bet if we won the title that we would shave his mustache,” said running back Jimmy Sutch, he of long locks and facial hair.
Shepherd wrapped up the West Virginia Conference championship on Saturday during a 56-19 win over West Virginia State to move its record to 9-0 and earn the No. 1 spot in the first Super Region 1 rankings of the season that came out this week.
“We all had a good laugh, but I think he was excited to shave his mustache after 30-some years,” Sutch said.
Thirty-eight years to be exact “that upper lip has not seen sunshine,” Cater said.
“They kept winning, and they kept reminding me,” Cater said. “My wife and daughter were ready to disown me.”
When his wife, Bonnie, took a look, “she just shook her head,” the coach said.
Far be it for Cater to welch on a bet, however.
He tried to keep a stiff upper lip – one that’s visible now -through the ordeal that included an assortment of cell phone and conventional cameras going off.
“It was not my favorite day,” Cater said, “but the reason for it was pretty special.”
Cater’s team won its 12th conference championship during his 24 moustachioed seasons leading the Rams.
“It doesn’t look that bad,” quarterback Kevin Clancy said. “I thought it would look weird, but it looks good.”
“It’s nice,” Sutch said.
That sentiment was echoed by players hitting the practice field on Wednesday as they glanced at their coach and smiled and kidded him.
“We might run a whole bunch today,” Cater hollered out as his retort to the good-natured ribbing.
The Rams were in somewhat of a relaxed mood given their 9-0 record, league championship, their regional ranking and bye week, one critical to help the Rams overcome some injuries they have. Shepherd finishes the regular season against Glenville on Nov. 13 at home.
A win in that game should keep Shepherd atop the regional rankings. Holding the Nos. 1 or 2 spots mean a bye and a homefield game for the playoffs on Nov. 27. The third through six seeds participate in a first-round game on Nov. 20.
“We won’t be the No. 1 seed if we don’t beat Glenville,” Cater said in his typical tone, mustache or no mustache.
“There’s never a better way to send the seniors out than by winning a conference championship.”
Some of Shepherd’s seniors, true and redshirts, have experienced conference titles and participated in the postseason during the 2006 and ’07 seasons.
Clancy said the team is fixated on winning its final game to earn a bye for the playoffs and to be able to play at home.
“To be No. 1, we got to focus on Glenville,” Clancy said. “Having a homefield advantage will really help; having a first-round bye will will help.”
The Rams have lost their last three meetings to Glenville.
“We’re not looking past Glenville,” Sutch said.
The Rams are looking at a bare-faced Cater, though.
It might take getting used to.
“I’ve heard I should do a ‘Got Milk’ commercial,” Cater said.
– Rick Kozlowski can be reached at 304-263-3381, ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org