Andy Enfield and Mick Cronin have their own fashion games

After all these yrs, Mick Cronin was heading to the Final 4 and a thing did not feel right.

The black pullover. The grey golf slacks. The sneakers.

It was not the elements, it was the concept.

Basketball had been the UCLA coach’s first like and it deserved better than this. Yeah, he agreed it created no perception to walk into a practically empty arena in a single of his bespoke Italian suits, but this was the culmination of his life’s perform, the college game’s largest phase.

“I seemed down at what I was donning and I reported to myself,” Cronin recalled recently, “this is the very last time I’m dressing like this when this is about.”

His clothes contact resulted in his reaching back again into the closet for his very best threads.

The satisfies of finest wool. The crisp pocket squares. The shoes that scuffed in its place of squeaked.

It all felt so ideal. It also included a sense of normalcy amid a ceaseless pandemic.

When Cronin walks into the Galen Centre for the No. 12 Bruins’ video game versus No. 21 USC on Saturday evening, his snazzy apparel will present a sartorial distinction as stark as blue and yellow compared to cardinal and gold. Down the far sideline, Trojans coach Andy Enfield will product a golf pullover adorned with the school’s logo together with golf slacks and sneakers.

Taking their cue from NBA coaches who adopted the informal approach on their return from the COVID-19 layoff and then caught with that look, Enfield and his staff members opted to get and keep on being comfy.

“We decided to kind of follow the NBA direct all over again and stay informal,” Enfield said.

It’s the new equal of shirts versus skins, coaches on a person close of the court dressed in satisfies going up versus far additional informal counterparts. Styles can fluctuate on just about every side. For instance, you’ll almost never — if ever — see Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley with a match jacket on. Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd and Stanford’s Jerod Haase favor polo shirts alternatively of pullovers.

USC mentor Andy Enfield instructs his gamers all through a activity versus Arizona Point out on Jan. 24. Enfield is having a more relaxed solution to his sideline attire.

(Alex Gallardo / Connected Press)

Contrary to some conferences that resolved to stay informal across the board, the Pac-12 permitted every coach to make your mind up no matter whether to appear like he’s headed for church or childcare drop-off. It’s resulted in an virtually even split — six coaches have absent back again to satisfies, five have remained everyday and a single has vacillated.

Just after canvassing his coaching brethren at Pac-12 media working day, Utah’s Craig Smith determined his staff would dress in fits at property and go everyday on the street.

“I really do not have a powerful conviction a person way or the other,” Smith reported, “but there is a aspect of me that likes the tradition of going to the video game, wearing a accommodate for the sport and kind of the pomp and circumstance of every little thing that goes with the recreation.”

Smith made a single unpopular exception. For the duration of Coaches vs. Most cancers Suits and Sneakers Week, he made a decision his staff members would wear satisfies for a highway match due to the fact he thought they manufactured the sneakers pop additional on tv. Assistants who generally responded to Smith’s text-information reminders about packing relaxed use for the road with a thumbs-up emoji made available a distinct reply this time.

None.

UCLA’s staff members also went everyday for the occasion, while coaches donned customized pullovers with exclusive messaging throughout the upper body so that the place of the endeavor wouldn’t be shed on television viewers.

“They mention it once on the broadcast and then never ever discuss about it yet again and people today are like, ‘What are you putting on gym footwear for?’ ” Cronin claimed. “Like, they really do not even know. So I reported we should really get pullovers that say ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ and that way we can be a billboard for the duration of the online games.”

Heading relaxed provides additional vacation gains for coaches who don’t have to pack all that clunky stuff. For just about every two-recreation conference journey right before the pandemic, Enfield stated he would convey various fits, shirts, ties, belts and footwear.

“I never ever wore the exact outfit two game titles in a row on the street,” Enfield explained, “so I experienced to provide entirely different outfits and when you start out throwing costume shoes in there with satisfies and ties and shirts, your travel bag becomes quite heavy, so it absolutely is a whole lot lighter now.”

While Cronin’s baggage has remained cumbersome, the 20 pounds he dropped above the summer time intended that his wardrobe desired further tailoring. He was pleased to do it, knowledge that coaches are the faces of their universities and football coaches typically use satisfies just to enter stadiums.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin shouts instructions at his players during a game against Oregon State on Jan. 15.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin shouts directions at his gamers through a recreation in opposition to Oregon State on Jan. 15.

(Mark J. Terrill / Involved Push)

There was also a tradition to uphold as the son of a legendary Cincinnati substantial school coach who wore fits and competed against other individuals who did the identical, even if some experienced the misfortune of donning leisure suits in the 1970s.

A leisurely appear has never suited Cronin.

“I just really do not want to seem like I’m coaching a summer months match,” Cronin claimed with a chuckle of his reasoning for heading formal. “I just assume it is the expert factor to do, and I get what other guys are performing [but] I glimpse at it in a different way I will in no way gown everyday. Below I am finding to mentor at UCLA, basically blocks from Hollywood and miles from exactly where Pat Riley walked the Forum sidelines in Armani fits, obviously coach [John] Wooden, the most professional mentor and trainer at any time, but I never do it just due to the fact I sit in coach Wooden’s seat.”

As the virus has commenced its hottest retreat, COVID-19 pauses starting to be a rarity and the NCAA tournament established to resume a multi-metropolis structure, one miracles no matter if suits will turn into a lasting casualty of the pandemic.

“I never know about that,” Enfield said when posed the issue. “I believe we’re open to a hybrid, putting on satisfies at particular instances, but for appropriate now we’re going with the golf pullovers with the SC brand on it.”

That could direct Trojans coaches to adopt a new motto when it arrives to what they are pulling in excess of their heads.

Zip on.

Kenneth Proto

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