Gene Keady talks 'ugly' comb-over

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

Something like that.

If Gene Keady was known for anything during his years as Purdue's men's basketball coach -- other than becoming the winningest coach in school history -- it was his infamous comb-over hairstyle, which he maintained for years (to the tune of $600 a week) before ditching it for good last year.

"It was ugly," Keady told the Indianapolis Star. "Everyone was always asking, 'What is it? Why are you doing it?' I did it because I was on TV. I did it because I was going bald. I thought I looked gorgeous with the comb-over. Of course, it was very ugly."

The secret to the look? Extensions, of which Keady was an early adopter.

"Men were just starting to get extensions, so why not?" he told the newspaper.

Keady's personal hairdresser went to his house twice a week, armed with the extensions and hair dye, to maintain the look -- at a cost of $300 a visit. Keady kept it up until January 2013, when his wife, Kathleen, finally convinced him to undergo a makeover.

"Coach thought it was pretty dapper," she told the Star. "I think it was horrible. I mean, it was really weird-looking . . . And he's already so stern-looking. But with that hairdo, it was like Halloween or something."

It turned out his wife really did know best. Underneath the hair, they found squamous cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer.

"It's possible he wouldn't be here today if he'd kept that hair," Kathleen said.

"Plus," she added, "it was ugly."

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