The Case for Business Casual on the Bench

Coach John Groce, viagra from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Well guys and gals, what can I say. We’re still in the preseason and, basketball-wise, things in the Big Ten conference have been pretty quiet. Everyone in the city seems to be focused on hockey or baseball — myself included. As I type these very words I’m watching the Cubs fall further and further behind to the Mets in game 4.

I was parked in front of the TV last night too watching the Cubs when I noticed that Joe Maddon looked so cozy — albeit slightly depressed — in the dugout in his sweatshirt, baseball pants and cap during game 3. Then I started thinking…most managers/coaches in other sports wear comfortable get-ups on the sidelines, except in college basketball.

Most men’s basketball coaches in the Big Ten are usually wearing full-on suits and ties while sitting on the bench, and I think it’s time that we ask ourselves why. College football coaches are able to wear khakis and sweatshirts on the gridiron, so why should the basketball court be any different?

That’s not to say I’m totally against coaches looking classy or pulling out special pieces for big games or special occasions. For instance, I’m a fan of the orange blazer that Illini coach John Groce (and his predecessor Bruce Weber) pulls out or big games, a la former coach Lou Henson. It’s like getting dressed up for a big business meeting at work. But I see no reason for a coach to be sporting a suit and tie in a run-of-the-mill preconference game.

However, I do think some coaches may get a little too comfortable. Bob Huggins at West Virginia University wears a tracksuit to every game, from what I understand: GQ even did a short piece on his infamous look. Indiana coach Tom Crean has been known to rock a tracksuit from time to time.

And I will say, I’m not a fan of the uber-casual look. It looks like they could have rolled out of bed that morning and just headed to work.

If it were up to me, I’d institute a business casual dress code for the B1G basketball coaches. Think sweaters or button-downs with khakis or slacks. They can still show school spirit and showcase their teams’ colors without feeling stuffy or taking it too far and basically showing up to work in pajamas.

Because, when it comes down to it, these guys coach college basketball. They’re not running a shareholder meeting for a Fortune 500 company, nor are they eating Cheerios on the couch. Their attire should reflect that.

Cheers to being a few short weeks away from the end of the preseason!

About the author: Heather Punke. NCAA Basketball Correspondent. Heather is a Chicago transplant by way of Minnesota and Champaign, Ill. Even though she now resides in Wrigleyville, she still cheers for the Twins and the MN Wild, as well as her beloved Fighting Illini and whoever is on her fantasy football team that week. Heather earned a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Illinois and reported on Big Ten athletics during her time there. Now managing editor for a healthcare magazine, she is also a hedgehog owner and a competitive euchre player. You can follow her on Twitter at @hpunke

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