If you’re enjoying the 2021 NCAA Tournament, you may have noticed a commonality among the coaches. Most of them are wearing the same style of mask.
It’s a somewhat see-through black mask, sometimes with a logo slapped on. Not every single coach is wearing it, but enough of them are to probably make you notice. In fact, this trend actually started among coaches in college football who all wore the same mask the basketball coaches are wearing.
So what’s the deal with this mask? We’ll get into all of that below.
What mask are college basketball coaches wearing?
The majority of college basketball coaches in March Madness are wearing the SHEMA97 Functional Active Mask.
According the product’s website, the mask “uses high-performance nano fabric technology to protect the respiratory system from harmful substances and infectious sources.”
Part of the appeal of the mask is the somewhat see-through nature of it, so others can see the mouth of hte person wearing it. Another benefit, per the website, is “excellent sound transmission,” which is important for coaches so they don’t feel the need to pull their mask down constantly, which defeats the purpose of wearing it in the first place (although they’ll do it anyways).
Why are so many college basketball coaches wearing the same mask?
The reason this specific mask is so popular in college athletics is because it was made by one of their own. Auburn equipment manager Dana Marquez is the man behind the creation of the mask (along with a company in South Korea). So the mask will get heavy use from teams in the SEC (where Auburn plays).
The mask gained appeal from college football coaches, and we started to see more and more of them wearing it. In an interview with Holly Rowe, Marquez explained what makes the mask great for coaches.
“The biggest thing is breathability,” Marquez says. “We wanted to make it lightweight, we wanted to make it breathable. We wanted to make it effective as well. And a lot of ear strap holes just kind of stick on your ears, but we added the neck liner so you can actually just leave it on your neck and it makes it easy to get water, or something to eat.”
Marquez also mentioned the fact the mask makes it easier to hear, getting rid of that muffled noise you may hear from other masks.
“This is for helping people who have to wear a mask, like I do, all-day, everyday,” Marquez told AL.com. “The science behind it is pretty amazing. The idea was to find a mask that our players and student athletes are comfortable wearing.”