Pillar of Good Grooming: Gene Hackman in “Hoosiers”

In well-loved high-school hoops movie* Hoosiers, *Gene Hackman’s Coach Norman Dale urges his small-town team to embrace the “fundamentals of defense.” It’s clear Coach Dale followed his own advice when it comes to his own personal care regimen. Good grooming and a thick skin certainly help when townsfolk are raising pitchforks against your coaching style, and long-shot love Barbara Hershey is blocking your drive to the basket. Inspired by Coach Dale’s passion, here’s a grooming game plan deserving of its own locker-room slow clap.

1. Outsider Armor

Coach Dale knew he wasn’t going to win with three-pointers. He also knew he wasn’t going to win over the small town folk of Hickory, Indiana, in a three-piece suit. Instead, he donned a beat-up bomber. A beefy—but not too bulky—leather jacket (we dig this one from Johnson Leather in San Francisco) can add a little rough-and-tumble respectability. Of course, the formality of a shirt and tie is an important tradition for courtside coaches. But white collars and running up and down the sideline can make for a grungy combination. With a good cuff and collar soap like this Laundress Stain Bar, one can look like a gentleman even while cursing out a referee.

2. The Defensive Shaving Game

Dale’s mantra was defense and fundamentals from day one. In grooming, as in basketball, it’s all about preparation. As we know from the dearth of bearded basket coaches, one’s odds of winning—and maintaining a clean-cut image—are vastly improved by keeping a shorn face. The key is laying the groundwork with a good exfoliator that will expose beard hairs by sloughing away dead skin. Try this game-changer: EVOLUTIONMAN’s Wash & Buff.

3. A Waterboy for Dry Skin

Winter in Hickory isn’t particularly agreeable—either for a gentleman’s epidermis or for the moods of set-in-their-ways townsfolk. Before cold weather sucks the dryness from your skin, it’s best to up the moisture with a body lotion. Regenerating cells and boosting it with antioxidants, Guythority by Jock Soap’s Tall Drink Body Hydrator is like Gatorade for limbs.

4. Cream of the Crop

Despite the thinning crop on his head, Coach Dale never looked anything less than suave. For guys with thinning locks who want a natural, no-fuss hold on hair, a cream or paste is the best bet, mainly because these products are lighter. G0247’s Texture Paste keeps things tidy and adds definition without going overboard with gloss.

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