MHERST - His team still has a ways to go before making the Top 25, but in one recent poll, University of Massachusetts coach Bruiser Flint was ranked No. 1, and he didn't take the honor lightly.
College Hoops Insider, a college basketball Web site, ranked Flint first among America's college coaches in its FPI (Fashion Power Index) this week.
An avid shopper and noted snappy dresser, the Minutemen coach had no problem crowing about the poll Monday, despite being clad in a gray UMass basketball sweatshirt and matching sweatpants at the time.
A sharp appearance is a Flint family tradition, he said.
"Everybody in my family is a dresser. If you went to a Flint or a Brown (his mother's maiden name) outing, hey, you had to come right," Flint said. "My mom sews. She makes clothes. My dad is a dresser. My uncles are good dressers. At my wedding, my wife was like, 'I can't believe your family.'"
Despite the seamstresses in the family, most of Flint's threads are store-bought now.
"Yale Genton (in West Springfield) does me very well. I like clothes and I like shopping. (Salesmen) Norm and Mark take care of me very well," Flint said. "They really know how to put clothes together for me and they know what I like."
According to Flint, the key to putting it all together is footwear.
"You know what sets me apart from the other guys? My shoes are better," Flint said. "My mom always told me that when a woman looks at you to see what you're all about, the first thing she looks at is your feet. Even if you got a cheap suit. The shoes dress it up a little. My ties are good and my shoes are good. That's coming from my mom. Some of these guys don't have great shoes and their ties are bad."
While the general perception of coaches is of tough ex-jocks, Flint said clothes are a big topic of conversation at the NCAA coaches' convention at the Final Four every year and that friends keep track of who's wearing what.
Former UMass point guard Derek Kellogg is now an assistant coach under another natty dresser, ex-Minuteman boss John Calipari at Memphis. Kellogg reportedly has some wild ensembles in his closet and when he breaks them out for games, Flint hears about it from fellow Memphis assistant Tony Barbee, who was on Flint's staff a year ago.
"If Derek wears something wild," Flint said, "Tony will call me and say, 'Did you see the thing that Derek was wearing?'"
Like many athletes, Flint is superstitious about the relationship between certain outfits and his team's success when he wears them.
"I always stick the halftime stats in my pockets. So when I pull the jacket out before a game, it might go back in depending on how we played last time," Flint said. "You know if you won in a suit. The jacket I had on against Temple I knew I was undefeated in."