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Ex-Purdue basketball coach Gene Keady spent $600 per week on awful combover


Gene Keady’s basketball I.Q. has never been questioned. The former longtime men’s basketball coach of the Purdue Boilermakers had a lengthy run of considerable success during his 25 seasons overseeing the Purdue program, coaching the team to a 512-270 record from 1980-2005, which included six Big Ten regular season championships.

The 7-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, however, did not have a very high hair I.Q. — if there were such a thing — as Keady became known as much for his ridiculous combover hairstyle as his coaching acumen.

And for good reason, too. It was an absurd attempt by Keady to hide the fact that he was balding and only made the appearance of his hair that much more dreadful.

Keady, now 78 and since has come to his senses and got rid of the hairstyle, looks back and realizes how ridiculous he looked with that awful combover, referring to the look as “very ugly” during an interview with the Indy Star’s Gregg Doyel.

“It was ugly,” Keady told Doyel during a telephone interview. “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 combover. Of course, it was very ugly.”

Perhaps even more surprising than the fact that Keady was in denial over the combover is the fact that he revealed that he spent approximately $600 per week to maintain the ridiculous look.

Keady said that he brought in his personal hairdresser twice a week to work on the combover. A difficult task to charge even the most gifted hairstylist, the poor woman resorted to using hair dye, cream, and shockingly, hair extensions.

“I had extensions,” Keady admitted. When asked to clarify, the coach didn’t back down.

“Well sure,” he said. “Men were just starting to get extensions, so why not?”

Why not, indeed.

Keady kept the infamous hairdo until January 2013 when his wife finally convinced him to do something about the hot hair mess sitting atop his skull.

“Coach thought it was pretty dapper. I think it was horrible,” Keady’s wife Kathleen told Doyel. “I mean, it was really weird looking.”

“I mean, it was scary,” she continued. “And he’s already so stern looking. But with that hairdo, it was like Halloween or something.”

A potentially life-saving coincidence occurred as a result of Keady’s makeover. After cutting off the combover, Kathleen noticed something on her husband’s scalp.

“Squamous cell carcinoma,” Kathleen said. “It’s possible he wouldn’t be here today if he’d kept that hair.”

So, all’s well that ends well, as far as Keady’s combover is concerned. Its removal possibly saved his life and kept a whopping $600 extra in his wallet. Every week.

Seriously? $600 per week for that? Crazy.

(photo credit: Sam Riche/The Star)