Mon Jul 11 04:49pm EDT
Part of Mid-Major Week.
Will Goggans was just trying to have some fun.
Last June, Troy's punter looked in the mirror and pictured himself with a long flowing beard. So he decided to grow one. By December it was seven and a half inches long, bleached blonde and a college football phenomenon.
"I've always been kind of weird with what I do with my hair," Goggans said. "I had a mullet for like a month and a half the year before the beard. I've always had long facial hair and I've cut it into just a mustache and I've had some fun with it. And then I decided to grow out the full beard.
"I had no idea it would catch on the way it did. I did it and I was just thinking people were going to look at me a little weird when I was on the streets and stuff, but I had no idea that it would have that kind of success just pop culture-wise. It was ridiculous what people were saying after the game. I had no idea it was going to be like that."
Thanks to the beard, Goggans had the best punting season of his career averaging 42.2 yards per kick to place second in the Sun Belt Conference and 37th nationally. Prior to last season, Goggans' punting average had never cracked 40 yards per kick.
"I had the best year of my career last year and I attribute that to the beard," Goggans said. "The beard is my muse."
Despite the love of the beard, Goggans had to shave it in the spring because it was just too hot.
"I figured I'd just shave it off and just look like a normal human being for a couple months," he said.
But he immediately regretted it and decided to grow it back in May, a full month earlier than he started growing it a year ago, in hopes of achieving the perfect ZZ Top look before he graduates from Troy.
"With this being my last year, I figured I should have a little bit of fun while I can because once I get out of college, where else am I going to be able to have a beard like that?" Goggan said.
But growing the beard is just the beginning. Goggans is considering using different colors in the beard throughout the season. He's contemplating red, white and blue for September and pink in October for breast cancer awareness. He said at the very least, he'd bring back the (above) bleached look around Christmas time.
But for now, it's all about grooming and maintaining the look for optimum growth. He's careful not to get food in the beard. He washes it with Old Spice shampoo and conditions with Head and Shoulders. He also combs the beard out every day to keep it from getting too fluffy.
As for how the ladies feel about his facial hair, Goggans said it's a crapshoot.
"The women either loved it or they hated it," Goggans said. "Some came up to me, ran their fingers through it and loved it. Other girls were just like, 'Yeah, you're going to have to shave it.' And, 'Stand at a certain distance when you talk to me.' It was a love or hate thing."
But the guys in the locker room and the fans love it, and Goggans said he aims to please. He's hoping the beard will propel him to his best season ever and perhaps give him an opportunity to take his talents -- and his beard -- to a bigger stage.
"I'm doing this for the fun of it and I hope people will have fun with me."
Graham Watson is a regular contributor Dr. Saturday. Follow her on Twitter @Yahoo_Graham