The idea was sparked while members of the University of Louisville men's basketball team were attending a Relay for Life program on campus. Mike Marra suggested that Luke Hancock use the celebrity of his beard to assist in the fundraising.
A few days later, Luke Hancock, joined by Stephan Van Treese, began Shave for Life. On Wednesday, in front of over 100 at the Red Barn on campus, the pair offered up their beards for donations to the American Cancer Society program.
After receiving clearance from the NCAA, the two began promoting it the past few days and the team's initial goal was exceeded.
"We've raised over $7,400 and our initial goal was only $5,000," said Van Treese. "We're shooting for $10,000 now."
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The total continues to grow.
"I couldn't believe it to be honest," Van Treese said of the response. "It just shows how much the community does care and follows us."
Hancock said the purpose was to use their influence in the community for a good cause.
"We have a lot of influence," he said. "This is an unbelievable turn out and we raised an unbelievable amount of money. I'm just really happy and blessed to be in this situation."
The two took turns on stage, beginning with Hancock, and had their beards professionally shaved.
"I feel like a baby boy now," said Van Treese.
Receiving a shave in front of an audience, with chants of C-A-R-D-S and Luuuuke occasionally ringing out, appeared to be a bit of an awkward moment.
"It was a little different," said Hancock. "I felt a little more comfortable in front of 75,000 in the dome. It's for a great cause and I'm happy to get this beard off my face."
The players are keeping busy with final exams, but it won't be long until they're are back in the gym and preparing to defend their title.
"Coach said we have about a week and then we are back to work and back to the gym," said Hancock.
Still with them is Russ Smith, who announced earlier in the day that he is returning to U of L for his senior season.
"We love Russ and we know that he's going to be a great leader for our team," Hancock said. "He's a hard worker and he's a veteran. He knows what he's doing. We're definitely a lot better with Russ Smith on our team."
"I'm super excited," added Van Treese. "Russ is definitely one of the best players in the nation in my eyes. Him coming back is going to make us even stronger. We're going to be good again next year."
Hancock says the key to preparing for a season as the defending National Champion will be to approach it as they did last season.
"We're going to go about the same way we did last year," he said. "We are going to work as hard as we can and get ready for a Coach Pitino season. You got to be ready."