Jay M. Robinson girls' soccer coach Todd Spinell proudly roams around the school's halls, not caring about the stares and questions that come along with his new hair color.
Although he's donning his pink hair because he lost a bet, he couldn't be happier that he did. It just reminds him of his team's success.
Spinell told his Bulldogs that if they won the regular season South Piedmont Conference title, he would dye his hair. The weekend that his team was crowned conference champs, he did.
"It's wonderful because I'm reminded of the title every time I look at the mirror, every time I pass somebody," he said.
Spinell wanted the hair to be maroon, but his girls insisted that it be pink.
"It makes more of a statement," said star forward Becky Darnell. "It draws more attention."
The bet originated about a month ago when the SPC title race was tightening between Robinson, unexpected contenders Cox Mill and preseason favorites Northwest Cabarrus. Spinell said he made the bet because he wanted to give his team extra motivation to finish the season strong.
Spinell's pink hair will fade, but the glory of that title will stick around.
Spinell explained his prime goal the entire season was to win the SPC title after years of not being able to win the ME-CA 7 conference. The Bulldogs consistently finished the season fourth in the 4A conference.
Another goal of the team is to make the third round of the playoffs - something that the program has never done.
Robinson was 13-7-1 this season (as of May 13). But those numbers can be misleading, as the Bulldogs won the games that counted and finished 12-1-1 in conference.
Spinell said that one of the biggest reasons for his team's success this year was the team's "ridiculous" nonconference schedule.
The Bulldogs lost every one of those games to ranked teams, such as West Rowan and Weddington.
At first, the Bulldogs were being discounted by their SPC opponents, but that changed once Robinson got into the heart of their schedule.
"Finally people started realizing that maybe it was worth playing those tough teams," said Spinell. "Overall, it made our team tougher."
"You can't play easy teams every time because you can't learn anything," she said. "Playing harder teams challenges us so we know what we need to work on."
The race for the conference championship came down to the wire. It wasn't decided until the last day of the season.
It was tight the whole year. The Trojans defeated the Bulldogs before tying in overtime in their second meeting. Robinson was able to take care of the Chargers during both of their meetings.
Robinson won its 100th game in its history against Hickory Ridge May 6 to take the lead in the SPC, but they had to wait until the next day to see if Cox Mill could defeat Northwest Cabarrus before the champion was decided.
Although Robinson could not do anything but wait and see, they decided to attend the game to pull for the Chargers and maybe give the young team an emotional push.
"It was 2-0 Northwest at halftime and I just told the girls to go sit behind (Cox Mill's) bench and motivate them the rest of the game," said Spinell.
That seemed to work, as the Chargers went on to defeat the Trojans in overtime 3-2.
The Bulldogs were so excited that they stormed the Cox Mill field when the final whistle blew and they knew they had won their first conference championship.
Robinson was led offensively this season by Darnell, who had 21 goals along with six assists (through May 13). She also provided leadership as one of the team's captains.
"She's our engine on our field," said Spinell.
Sophomore Izzy Bernal, who had 11 goals, and senior Elena Kacan, who had team-high 10 assists, were also major contributors for Robinson.
Defensively, two sophomores - Hanna Cacace and Bug Bowser - led the way, along with junior goalkeeper Sam Walker.
The SPC should be competitive once again next year.
"They were very talented squads - everybody in this conference is young, and that's what's going to be scary for next year. I don't know who's going to step up to the plate," said Spinell.
But the fifth-year head coach said the goal again next year will be to win the conference.
"We have great talent coming back," he said. "They're going to step up and be hungry to repeat. We're going to be gunned for, but we'll be ready."