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Virginia Tech Hokies celebrate their 26-10 win over the Boston College Eagles with fans in Halloween garb at Alumni Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
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Lang's World: A College Football Halloween

by Lang Whitaker | Grizz Gaming GM

It’s that time of year again, when we all dress up in costumes and stumble around begging strangers for free candy. The older we get, the more of a burden wearing a good Halloween costume becomes. When you’re a kid, who cares? Throw on a rubber mask and you’re a werewolf! But with adulthood comes a certain responsibility, a fidelity to the true spooky ethos of the holiday. Half-stepping is no longer allowed; you have to go all-in, which I plan to do this year.

But if you haven’t thought about your Halloween costume this year, let me offer a suggestion: Dress as a college football coach. Now, there are certainly plenty of college football players you could dress as, but that would mostly mean just putting on a uniform with an identifying number on the back. (Also, frankly, if you’re an adult, dressing up as a teenager is just kind of weird.)

Which, again, is why I humbly suggest an alternative for anyone looking to celebrate college football on Halloween: Dress up like a college football coach. The costumes are relatively simple, and, at least regionally, coaches are relatively recognizable. But let me now offer some broader alternatives, some college coaches who should resonate nationally, or at least into spooky other dimensions! Oooohh!


1. Zombie Team Mascot

-- OK, so not a coach, but being a zombified version of a team’s mascot is super simple. Dress up like a bulldog with one of those generic costumes you can get at Walmart, then pour some fake blood down the side of your face, smear some purple makeup under your eyes, and drag one leg behind you. And there it is: zombie bulldog! Not really all that imaginative but certainly doable.


2. Coach O

-- Have you ever heard LSU coach Ed Orgeron talk? I just rewatched this and I’m not entirely sure of exactly what it is that he said. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching horror movies over the years, it’s that some of the best scary villains have terrifying voices. And there’s nobody better to shake you to your core than Coach O, with his gravel-filled larynx. Be honest, would you be more scared to get a phone call late at night from the “Scream” caller or from Coach O?




3. Mike Gundy

-- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has basically turned his postgame press conferences into some kind of bizarre performance art. Years ago there was the “I’m a man! I’m 40!” presser, and earlier this year we had the press conference during which Coach Gundy housed a smoothie...


This week Gundy lost the smoothie but brought out some rockin’ sound effects...The physical costume is easy: Just get yourself a ridiculous mullet wig and a visor, and you’re ready to go. Being Mike Gundy is really more about the attitude, having that cocksure confidence that you are, above all else, large and in charge.


4. Kliff Kingsbury

-- Speaking of swagger, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury presents another opportunity for those in need of inspiration. This one’s pretty easy: Go to your barber and ask for a high and tight haircut, heavy on the pomade, with a fade on the sides. Then get a black t-shirt that’s at least a size too small and push it up past your pecs. If you really want to go the extra mile, you could alternately just get a Ryan Gosling mask.


5. Jim Harbaugh

-- This Michigan man is a real Michigan Man, the coach every Wolverine fan had always wanted. Well, at least until they lost against Michigan State two years ago. But even following a tough loss earlier this season against Notre Dame, the ever-intense Harbaugh has Michigan back in the thick of the BCS title hunt. Want to be Coach Harbaugh for Halloween? Get yourself a pair of Dockers, some glasses (apparently a stylistic nod to Malcolm X and the dude from the movie “Falling Down,” among others) and an “M” cap. Top off the ensemble with a Sharpie on a rope around your neck. You could also grab a big laminated menu from Waffle House to carry around as your play-calling guide.

Jim Harbaugh wearing glasses

6. Nick Saban

-- You know how they sell those superhero costumes for kids with the fake padded muscles sewn in? A Saban costume should be the opposite, somehow making you less-defined. Also make sure you just act as glum as possible at all times, even after getting a bag full of candy.


7. Lane Kiffin

-- Hey, look, every issue that Kiffin has had over the years, from his time at the NFL to Tennessee to the NFL to Alabama, wasn’t necessarily good ol’ Lane’s fault. Now he’s down at Florida International, wearing his visors and his baggy clothing, while sending out Tweets that aren’t always easy to understand.


8. Mike Leach

-- The Washington State coach is as well-known for his creative offenses as he is for his embrace of creative thinking. He’s not particularly visually memorable, I suppose, although he has sort of a 1980’s Brian Wilson vibe to me. Maybe just go with a polo shirt and fix a far-away look in your eyes.


9. Bret Bielema

-- OK so he’s not even coaching in college these days, after getting run out last year in Arkansas. But the man cut such a striking figure when he was walking the sideline in Fayetteville, wearing those giant white slickers. Bielema always reminded me of a Rob Riggle character, and if you got a white Razorbacks jacket and stuffed it with padding, I think he’d be an instantly recognizable costume.


Bret Bielema on sideline

10. Chip Kelly

-- The UCLA coach has been struggling to find his footing thus far, but he’s the head man at one of the biggest schools on the West Coast, so he should be relatively recognizable. My best Coach Kelly costume would be a Bruins visor and windbreaker, topped off with a headset, but the best part should be a huge piece of posterboard with four huge icons on it, like the play-calling signs that are held up from the sidelines. This is your chance to be creative with the images you choose! I’d definitely include a duck (to remember the good time at Oregon) and at least one member of the Hollywood elite. Maybe Carrot Top?

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Lang Whitaker are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.