A Bee in His Bonnet – Coach Clair Bee Ordered a Haircut

Former UCLA Basketball Hall of Fame coach John Wooden’s recent passing led to many columnists collecting memories of the famed basketball coach.  One of the most often told was about Bill Walton’s haircut – or insufficient one, in the coach’s eyes.  That reminded my father of another basketball coach’s haircut issue.

Clair Bee, also a Basketball Hall of Fame coach, brought his powerhouse Long Island University NIT-Champion basketball team across Brooklyn, NY, to Pratt Institute to scrimmage their far weaker team a few times during WWII, due to travel restrictions.

In 1941 or ’42, my father, an avid college sports fan and Pratt mechanical engineering student, was in the bleachers to watch.  At one point in the informal practice, a fourth-string LIU player went in for a layout, adjusted his hair – and missed the shot.

Coach Bee whistled the action to a halt, and called for a pair of scissors.  He had an assistant coach cut the offending locks on the court, then resumed the scrimmage without another word.


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