COLUMBIA – They were all black and as soft as a newborn kitten.
One was horizontal, stretching to the edge of each lip. Another curved upward on the sides. A third curved downward on the edges, just like Columbia College coach Bob Burchard’s.
A couple hundred fans took the tape off the back of the fake facial hair and stuck it between their noses and upper lips, in honor of Burchard and his iconic mustache.
The Columbia College men’s basketball game against Park University on Thursday at the Arena of Southwell Complex was also the school's first official mustache night, in honor of Burchard's thick, white, caterpillar-like trademark.
The Cougars took down the Pirates 85-57. Senior Devin Griffin dropped 26 points and continued his hot scoring streak.
But Griffin, and the rest of the players, didn't get to join in on the mustachioed fun.
“We knew it was coming, but not the exact date,” said Tanner Sutton, a stubble-faced junior guard. “If we knew, I absolutely would have grown one.”
Burchard is known for his mustache. He has had it since he was a junior in high school. Sutton described it as “confident and monumental.”
The athletics department decided to get in on the act.
Drew Grzella, the Columbia College assistant director of athletics, bought about 80, three-pack fake mustaches for $70 on Amazon.com to help commemorate Burchard's facial hair.
“We planned it awhile ago,” Grzella said Thursday. “We always try to think of new ways to get everyone involved, so we decided to do mustache night tonight.”
At halftime, six contestants from the crowd competed in a “Pin the 'stache on the Bob” game.
Three Columbia College athletics staff members held up laminated posters of Burchard with a thick, white mustache edited onto the headshot.
Burchard’s wife, Faye, gave Grzella the headshots awhile ago, and he found a perfect use for the photos as the commemoration of the mustache approached.
“You never want to give me anything,” Grzella said. “I hold onto everything.”
The six contestants were paired up, and one partner was blindfolded while the other instructed him or her across the court to place the sticky mustache onto the headshot poster.
Closest placement won.
“Each sport has something that makes you stand out,” Burchard said. “In basketball, it’s all about the head and the shoes. It’s all about the hair or the headband. Now, the socks are big.”
“With me, I have a mustache.”
Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.