Tim Chambers has a mustache for the first time in more than 20 years.
In a show of support for his team, the UNLV baseball coach has relented on the “no facial hair” rule he’s had in place everywhere he’s coached over the past 26 years.
UNLV baseball is 8-3 overall and 3-0 in conference during a season marred by injuries, but it’s more than the wins that has Chambers in a good mood — it’s the sense that finally, his players are proud to call themselves Rebels.
It started with a gesture: After a double, triple or home run, players would look toward the dugout with their fingers under their nose, imitating Hey Reb’s mustache. Pretty soon, they asked Chambers to add “Fear the ‘Stache” Signs around the stadium.
Then his captains approached him about a rule change.
“They said they want this entire thing to be about the Rebels and the mustache, and asked if we could get rid of the no-shave rule,” Chambers said. “I said, ‘You guys have done everything I’ve asked you to, OK.’ Next thing I know, every single player has a mustache.”
Pretty soon, Chambers was the only one without a mustache. So his players approached him one more time.
“Now I have a Fu Manchu mustache for the first time in like 20 years and my wife hates it,” Chambers said. “But the kids wanted me to do it.”
The cool thing about “Fear the ‘Stache,” Chambers said, isn’t the facial hair itself. It’s the camaraderie that comes with embracing the Rebel name and being proud to play for UNLV.
“They’ve embraced Hey Reb and they’ve embraced the mustache and I think it’s neat,” Chambers said. “We catch some heat from other teams, but they’ve all done it and it’s kind of a thing right now.”
For Pat Armstrong, the player behind the push for facial hair, the mustaches are all about giving Las Vegas a reason to support UNLV baseball.
“It’s motivation for us to win and get people’s attention, and get the city’s attention,” he said. “We figured if “Fear the ‘Stache” is our saying, we might as well have mustaches for people to fear.”
Armstrong doesn’t like to be clean shaven, but some of the players have found themselves with a mustache for the first time.
“We get teased about it and we know we don’t look good, but the fact is we’re doing it as a team and it’s something that’s special,” he said. “We don’t care that it looks bad.”
The Rebels are heading into a three-game series this weekend at the University of New Mexico.