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Sept. 27, 2022

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Hockinson’s Steele shaves mustache after losing bet with players

Three seniors wagered if the Hawks won state, he shaves his mustache of over 30 years

By , Columbian Staff Writer
Published:
2 Photos
Hockinson football coach Rick Steele, as a part of a bet, had his mustache shaved by his players after they presented the state championship trophy to the high school on Friday, December 15.
Hockinson football coach Rick Steele, as a part of a bet, had his mustache shaved by his players after they presented the state championship trophy to the high school on Friday, December 15. (ANDY BUHLER/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

During the week leading up to the 2A football state championship game in late November, three Hockinson seniors, Blake Sparks, Kordell Johnson and Kyle Nute, posed a wager to their coach, Rick Steele.

The Hawks win a state title, and Steele would have to shave his mustache.

The team delivered the state championship on Dec. 2.

So Friday morning, Steele followed through on his end.

Seniors Kyle Brabec, Canon Racanelli and Colton Wheeler opened Hockinson High School’s holiday assembly by presenting the trophy — the fifth state championship in school history — to the student body.

Shortly after, Racanelli, microphone in hand, motioned to Steele.

“It’s coach Steele time. Coach, will you come up here please?,” he said.

Steele sat in a chair on the gymnasium floor, and in front of the student body, Sparks took a pair of clippers and shaved his coach’s mustache

“He would do anything for a state championship, so we wanted to know if he would give up the most valuable thing to him: his mustache,” Sparks said. “And sure enough, he did.”

The seniors were admittedly a little nervous to offer the bet in the first place, but they knew he’d understand it was all in good fun.

Steele has proudly worn a mustache for 30 years. He first grew it during his sophomore year of high school, he said.

Look at pictures of him from his earliest coaching days — and even his playing days — at Hudson’s Bay, and the only facial hair the Hockinson football coach is documented with is a full-grown mustache.

But, in the eyes of Steele, a bet is a bet.

“It was really weird in the moment, but it’s awesome to know we got him to shave his mustache,” Sparks said.

Steele became the head coach at Hockinson when the school opened 2004 and has coached the team ever since, aside from a taking a year off due to his day job during the 2012 season. Hockinson defeated Tumwater 35-22 in a come-from-behind win in the Tacoma Dome to secure the school’s first football state title.

On Sunday, Steele will join the five other WIAA state football championship winning coaches from the various classifications in hosting the “12th man” flag at the Seahawks home football game.

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Columbian Staff Writer

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