Sportress of Blogitude

College Football

Lovie Smith unrecognizable after shaving trademark beard

Lovie Smith has shaven his trademark, gray-tinged and bushy beard, and the Illinois Fighting Illini head football coach looks practically unrecognizable without the facial hair.

Illinois Football’s official Twitter account on Wednesday shared evidence of the stunning transformation the 62-year-old Smith has undergone due to his new fresh-faced appearance.

If any reminder is needed to recall just how glorious Smith’s magnificent graybeard was in its heyday, here are some reminders.

Addressing the hype surrounding his beard back last fall, Smith revealed how the bold look evolved and came to be.

“I never shaved much during the summer, before seasons started,” Smith said in October, per the Washington Post. “Two summers ago, I let it grow out for a while, and my wife said to me: ‘I love it. Don’t ever shave it.’ So I guess I won’t.”

Arguably the saddest thing about all the fanfare that has been generated by Smith’s iconic beard — not to mention the craze over his new clean-shaven appearance — is that the coach’s facial hair arguably is the most notable aspect of his four-year tenure at Illinois.

Smith has posted a 15-34 record with the Illini, but he did enjoy his best season in 2019 when he led the team to a 6-7 record and a bowl appearance.

With the Illinois football program seemingly trending upward, perhaps the radical change in Smith’s appearance will represent a symbolic change that may represent how Lovie will at long last get the Illini over the hump.