Reporter’s notebook: Coaches shave heads to motivate

Hair — or lack thereof — has become the perfect motivational tool for Darren Williams and Michael Thomas, coaches at Marshall Junior High School. The two men, similar in height and stature, stumbled upon an incentive for athletic teams at Marshall:

In exchange for good performances, or in preparation for a tough competition, the coaches let team members shave their heads.

“Kids come up and say to us ‘when will we get to shave your head.’ It’s that little extra incentive — being younger kids, they think it’s neat,” said Williams, who also teaches science at Marshall Junior High.

For the past four years, the tradition has taken place at the end of the school year. Athletes stream into the locker room, Williams hands them clippers, and the kids go to town.

“The first year we did it, I had to go back to class with a big ‘M’ shaved in the back of my head. After that I made some stipulations,” Williams said.

His counterpart Thomas is a little more leery.

“I had mine professionally shaved,” said Thomas, shifting his eyes towards Williams, “when I saw them jamming the shears into his head.”

This year Marshall Junior High School had an exceptional season, excelling in track and football.

Coach Thomas should count himself lucky for one more reason.

“My wife loves my bald head,” he said, peering over at Williams, his partner in crime, stubble and sports.

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Marlena Hartz. Suggested items may be mailed to managing editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: rick_white@link.freedom.com