Justen Lehr is prepared for the worst haircut of his life.
He’s actually looking forward to it.
The Crystal Lake Central physical education teacher and wrestling coach hasn’t cut his hair in almost 15 months, but on May 29 some lucky person will get to do what they want with Lehr’s mop.
Lehr is selling raffle tickets – $1 apiece or 10 for $5 – to raise money for the American Cancer Society. His father, Randy, was declared cancer-free early in 2013 after a battle with esophageal cancer.
Lehr, who is an assistant coach in football and baseball, started letting his hair grow at that point with the idea of cutting it for Locks of Love. A couple months ago, he came up with another plan.
“That wouldn’t have gotten anybody involved,” Lehr said. “I had this idea. What kid, whether they like me or not, doesn’t want to make a teacher look foolish? However they cut it, I have to wear it that way the rest of the day and Friday at school.”
The raffle winner gets to cut Lehr’s hair in any manner at the Dunk the Deans event at Central. The beard likely will go too. Lehr, who always has had his hair short, said he had his hair buzzed short when he began growing it last year.
The mane is now near 8 1/2 inches and some people didn’t recognize him during wrestling season.
“People were asking who Central’s new wrestling coach was,” Lehr said. “I’ve been told I look like the guy in the Dr. Pepper 10 commercials, the dude in the woods.”
Lehr and Brian Kane, another teacher and coach at Central, have made a tradition of livening up prom as chaperones each year. Two years ago, they wore orange and powder blue tuxedos like Harry and Lloyd in “Dumb and Dumber.” Last year was a “Duck Dynasty” theme. This year, with Lehr’s wild hair and Kane’s long beard, they wore kilts.
Lehr said almost $500 has been raised already and hopes more people will buy raffle tickets in the last week. He wanted to do this all to honor his father.
“I was working at Aurora Central Catholic when he was diagnosed,” Lehr said. “I always felt bad because I wasn’t around much. It was tough on my mom [Eileen] and I wanted to so something. I’ve never had long hair in my life.”
Lehr said the hair has made for an interesting last year.
“One of the funny things is that it’s helped with the connection with some kids,” Lehr said. “It’s been a funny centerpiece of a lot of conversations.”
Lehr encourages creativity for whoever wins the chance to be his “stylist.” He realized he will look ridiculous, but doesn’t care because it’s for a great cause.
Besides, he wore a kilt to prom.
Cannon honored: Marengo athletic director assistant Sherry Cannon will retire after 35 years at the school and the Indians’ athletic teams paid tribute at a recent softball game.
Cannon was invited to throw out the first pitch by Marengo softball coach Dwain Nance. Cannon’s Marengo biography was read before she threw the pitch and athletes from all the other spring sports lined the field to say thanks.
“The stuff she deals with is pretty impressive,” Marengo AD Chad Olson said. “It was awesome that Dwain wanted to recognize her. It was pretty neat.”
Cannon’s husband Roger was a long-time teacher, basketball and track coach at the school and retired several years ago.
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.