The independent news organization of Duke University

Take it off, Coach Franks

Attention head football coach Carl Franks: Publicly announce and promise to your team that you will shave your ever-present mustache if the team wins six games this season. 


History is stacked with other successful examples of humorous, public incentives for teams to win. 


Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel promised to put his hair in dread-locks if the Buckeyes won the national title, a promise he kept after Ohio State's victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. Tampa Bay Devil Rays' manager Lou Piniella pulled off a similar stunt when he bleached his hair after the Devil Rays won three consecutive games this past summer. 


Now is the perfect time for the Duke program to do this: The Blue Devils have won back-to-back games for the first time in the Carl Franks era; fan support has reached a five-year high, with Franks even opening his weekly press conference thanking the student body for its backing; and at worst, this event would bring national media coverage that would help increase high school players' awareness to Duke's commitment to winning. 


When approached with the idea, Franks downplayed the effects of such a plan.

"That's not that big of a deal," Franks said. 


But in examining the history of the Franks mustache, it definitely would be.

Franks started his whiskers while still a teenager, and was first forced to shave them for a high school football all-star game. The shave only made the mustache grow bushier, and he has since rarely removed it.  


The last time Franks ridded himself of the facial hair was in 1994 or 1995 at the request of his youngest daughter.  


Once Franks truncated it, his daughter responded, "Okay Dad, shave it back on."

Basically, a Franks mustache shave is a once in every 10 year occurrence. That's about as often as a president with the last name of Bush invades Iraq.

Also, the players desire such an incentive. While Franks thought it was inconsequential, redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Schneider was very open to the idea.  


"It would be a really funny thing to see happen," he said. "It'd be great humor. It would be [a good media event]." 


And it wouldn't just be a humorous opportunity for the players; the Wade Wackos should jump all over this. 


And a jump-start is badly needed in Wallace Wade, as the football supporters pale in comparison to the Cameron Crazies. The two most prevalent cheers at the football games, the "Dee-Fense" and "Block that Kick" hurrahs, are cliches at best.  


The Franks mustache-shaving story would allow better cheers to write themselves. Students could bring "Shave It! Carl" signs, while wearing faux mustaches and taking shaving cream to the games. These ideas are only the dawning of what the creative Duke students could imagine. Wallace Wade might finally have a personality of its own. 


While Franks does not seem very perceptive to the idea now, it is certainly not because of a lack of interest in motivational techniques. 


Franks was a psychology major while a student at Duke in the 1980s, and continually says he uses his degree every day in efforts to galvanize his team.

Franks is also a big reader, using the lessons from titles as diverse as "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu and "It's Not About the Bike" by Lance Armstrong to help his team. 


Although the techniques have only led to seven wins in Franks' five seasons at Duke, players believe in his approach. 


"He's more motivational than my coaches in high school," Schneider said. "He works well with people." 


But my message to you, Carl Franks, is to play down the high-brow motivation tactics and just shave off your low-brow. 


It'd be worth it to us all. 



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