Story Poster
Photo by Seth Butler
Notre Dame Baseball

An Origin Story: Notre Dame’s postseason mustaches

June 15, 2022

Link Jarrett didn’t know.  

Not that the newest iteration of the ‘Top Gun’ movie would be at the genesis of Notre Dame history.

Jarrett simply recognized when his players were avoiding him two weeks ago at Georgia Southern, site of the NCAA Tournament’s Statesboro Regional, as the Fighting Irish prepared to embark upon what has become an monumental, record-setting postseason journey.

“When we went to practice in Statesboro, and we have some facial hair policies, it’s not rocket science what we’re doing, but I don’t … I’m not big on the beards hanging over,” Jarrett said Wednesday inside the Irish’s players lounge, shortly before their departure for the College World Series. “We kind of keep it in check.

“We get to practice, and I see somebody come up, and they’re kind of like not really wanting to be like, ‘Hey, Coach, how you doing?’ [and look me in the eyes]. Here comes another one. I think it was Dave (LaManna), I said, ‘Dave, what’s going on?’ It was (LaManna and Spencer) Myers. ‘What’s going on with the mustaches?’ And it was, ‘Coach it’s our postseason mustaches. Top Gun stuff. Top Gun.’ I was like, ‘They had them in the new Top Gun?’ They were like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ And here comes another guy and another guy. Here they come.”

Wholly unsurprising for Jarrett’s meticulous, detail- and process-oriented program, the Irish had even scouted the nuances of the ‘Top Gun’ ‘staches – from this year’s version to the original 1986 film.

“They were watching ‘Top Gun,’ Jarrett recalled. “I think Nick Juaire and Liam (Simon) broke down the difference between the new ‘Top Gun’ and the old ‘Top Gun.’ I guess there’s mustaches involved in that.”

LaManna, among the heroes of Notre Dame’s Knoxville Super Regional triumph that stunned and ousted top-ranked, No. 1 overall seed Tennessee, wasn’t sure how the conversation would go with Jarrett two weeks ago on the even of Notre Dame’s NCAA Tournament opener against Texas Tech.

“I thought he was either going to join in on it,” said LaManna, his two-run blast on Sunday the game’s equalizer and precursor to Jack Brannigan’s season-extending, go-ahead homer, “or not join in on it but at least allow it, or I thought he it was going to be a no-go.

“He liked them, and here we are still riding them.”

Jarrett had fresh in his mind the team’s disappointment as it was inexplicably overlooked to host an opening-round regional and likewise not selected as a Top-16 national seed – despite a No. 12 RPI after the ACC Tournament, a 6-1 slate against Big Ten foes and top-four regular- and post-season finishes in the ACC.

“You have a decision to make when you know the guys, they were a little frustrated,” Jarrett said. “You’ve got to remember what it felt like in this room, on that show, 12:24 on Monday, we were sitting right here however many Mondays ago, I could tell those guys were upset about having to go down there.”

So Jarrett relaxed the team’s facial-hair policy he had enacted three years ago after he was hired atop the program.

Now? Those upper-lip accessories aren’t going anywhere.

“And you know what, let’s go,” Jarrett said. “I didn’t (grow one), and so, I just didn’t. I probably wouldn’t look very good with one, but at this point, I’m not messing with that.

“So that’s where that came from.”

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.