What started as a way to support a teammate who survived testicular cancer has become an annual tradition for the Loyola men’s volleyball team.
Every year during November, the men’s volleyball team and multiple administrators in the Athletic department, including athletic director Steve Watson, grow mustaches — or attempt to grow them — in an effort to raise awareness and money for men’s health issues.
“It’s funny. [The administrators] go to these real meetings with awful mustaches,” said head coach Mark Hulse.
Loyola alum Owen McAndrews forefronted the “Movember” movement at Loyola in November 2012 after he battled testicular cancer in high school. McAndrews told The PHOENIX in 2015 that raising awareness for men’s health issues is important to him, and that he was happy to see the men’s volleyball program’s success with the movement.
This year, the team raised nearly $2,000 for men’s health issues. Since the Ramblers began participating in the “Movember” movement, Loyola has raised nearly $17,000.
Hulse acknowledged that everyone tries to grow mustaches, but not everyone can.
“There’s a lot of bad ones,” said Hulse. “No one’s shaving. I mean, I’m not anywhere in the front of the pack, but there’s a good handful of guys where it’s just nothing.”
One teammate who lacks in the upper lip hair department is junior middle blocker Jeff Jendryk.
“[Selsky] gives me crap about it,” said Jendryk. “We always comment on each other, and to the people who can’t grow one, we’re all just like, ‘Come on, man.’”
But the burning question remains: Who grows the best mustache on the team?
“I have a pretty good one,” junior libero Jake Selsky said modestly.
Other notable mustache growers on the team include junior opposite Ricky Gevis and first-year setter Ian Cowen.
Former men’s volleyball players have also continued the tradition in their professional careers. Nick Olson and McAndrews both grew mustaches this year for the cause.
The team plans to continue the tradition for years to come, but Hulse said he wants to remind people that it’s not just an excuse to grow scraggly facial hair: it’s for a good cause and to raise awareness about men’s health issues.