Long gone is the era of college football coaches donning ties and sports coats while stalking the sidelines in 90-degree temperatures and 60% humidity. A smart decision? Probably. A classy one? Absolutely not. Instead of coaching 18 to 22-year-olds while looking like their wives dressed them for an engagement party or graduation ceremony, most coaches now opt for the standard "coaches' shirt", which is easily duplicated and sold to the schools' masses for $50. It's a fast way to make money, but it creates a more soulless and generic sideline. Different colors, school logo on the left chest and a Nike/Adidas/Under Armour logo stamped somewhere. It's all the same shirt (What the hell happened to Reebok? Remember when there was a legitimate question as to who would rule the sports apparel world, Nike or Reebok? I'm pretty sure the only place you can get Reeboks now is in Radio Shacks.).
But just maybe 2010 will be different. Sure, all the coaches will be wearing a version of the same shirt, but this year's model could have some personality. In order to find out, The Belly of the Beast sent fashion correspondents to all 12 SEC schools' spring games to get a taste of what we might see in the fall. Here's what we found...
Coach Richt is wearing the latest from Nike. The black stripes on the sleeves are a memorial to the steady stream of quarterbacks that no longer want to play at Georgia.
Coach Dooley wears the latest "Trash Bag" shirt from Adidas. It is a constant reminder to him and his coaching staff of exactly where the Tennessee football program lies right now. It also doubles as a motivational tool.
Coach Nutt is trying out Nike's latest "Weird, Shirtless Old Guy Walking Down the Beach" straw hat. He also is wearing lightweight windsuit pants from Nike in case he needs to spring into action to offer some hands-on coaching to his untested quarterbacks.
Coach Mullen's latest from Adidas screams "Choosing a quarterback is hard! I should just have them wrestle for the starting job!"
Coach Miles has not changed clothes since he arrived in Baton Rouge. Although he has placed a request to Nike to create a hat that sits higher on his head and pants that come up to just below his nipples.
Coach Meyer is wearing Nike's 2009 windbreaker, but the 2010 Nike pen (with strap) tied securely around his neck allows him to write thoughts down as they occur faster than ever before.
Coach Philips is wearing Nike's 2007 line of coaching gear. Kentucky's athletic department decided that all money spent on athletic wear should go directly to the basketball program where it can be used to purchase new uniforms and new players to fill those uniforms. Billy Gillispie only used the money for booze and fish sandwiches from Captain D's. His successor, John Calipari has begun properly using the money.
Coach Petrino enjoys the latest from Nike after Arkansas made the switch from Adidas. He finds Nike products to be more comfortable and less likely to fall apart in key coaching situations.
Coach Johnson is wearing "whatever Nike stuff I found in that big box in my office closet. Now get off my football field."
Coach Chizik is wearing the latest from Under Armour. For the fall of 2010, he hopes to add a tiger tail coming out of the back and some paw prints on the front.
Too. Mesmerized. By. The. Awesomeness.
Coach Saban is wearing the latest from Saban-Wear because "THAT'S WHAT NICK $#*@&!% SABAN WEARS! IT'S BLUE BECAUSE I LIKE BLUE! IT BRINGS OUT THE SOFTNESS IN MY EYES! I JUST WON THE BCS TITLE SO I CAN DO WHATEVER I DAMN WELL PLEASE!"