COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — Doug Samuels has had a beard ever since 2013. In fact, his wife has barely seen him without one.
"There was a Halloween when we first started dating that I took it down to some stubble and kept a mustache," Samuels laughed, "but outside of that, no, she's never seen me without a beard."
At the beginning of the football season, in his second year as Comstock Park head football coach, Samuels made a promise to his players.
If the Panthers won the OK Silver championship outright, he told his players he'd let them shave his beard.
At the time, it seemed like a safe bet as the team was coming off of a 1-6 season in 2020, but after Friday's win over Kelloggsville, the team improved to 8-0 and more importantly, won the conference championship outright.
"For him, I think shaving it was a really big deal but he's all in on the kids," said Doug's wife, Courtney Samuels, "he was happy to do it because they honored their end of the deal so he's going to honor his."
After Monday's practice, players lined up by seniority with the youngest going first and the captains finishing the job.
"So much worse than I thought," he laughed after being asked what he thought of the finished product, "but if that's the motivation our kids need to win a conference title then I'll put my beard on the line any day."
It's a drastic change for not only Samuels, but his wife and two kids as well.
"It's a little different," Courtney smiled, "they left the little creepy mustache, I didn't love it, but you know what it's for the kids so we're all good."
Each player had a chance to take a swipe at the beard.
"Some of them really grinded into my face a little bit but overall they were a lot more gentle than I thought they'd be, but there's a reason we didn't bring scissors and stuff out here so we just stuck to the buzzers."
As for if there will be a bigger wager or motivation moving into the playoffs, Samuels may have sacrificed enough this season.
"I mean I think looking over at my pudgy face and this mustache should be all the motivation they need hopefully but if they continue to play for each other the sky is the limit."
So….I let my guys do a little something.— Doug Samuels (@CoachSamz) October 18, 2021
Hair will grow back. The memories of this group going from 1-6 to 9-0 while averaging over 50 points a game and winning the league title outright is something all of us will NEVER forget.
What an incredible experience. #LiterofCola https://t.co/HpDtwMBhJ4
Samuels and his family are already looking forward to the day when the full beard makes the return.
"As quick as possible," Courtney Samuels laughed, "I asked him yesterday how long it will be and he said at least a full year to get back there."
Without a week nine opponent, Comstock Park finishes the regular season a perfect 8-0 as they now wait for their district draw on Sunday night.