TAMPA (FOX 13) - Pay attention to head coach Jon Cooper during Friday’s Caps-Bolts game; specifically to his jaws. They are always chomping away at a piece of gum.
“People say I’m a pretty calm guy on the bench but I guess I take the aggression out on that poor piece of gum,” Coach Cooper told FOX 13 News.
There is a background to that bubble gum. It has been part of his routine since his high school coaching days, now nearly 20 years and running.
“People know the brand. It’s a little rectangle piece, it has a joke inside. I read the joke and in goes the gum,” he said.
He pops a piece after the national anthem and the gum doesn't come out, no matter what, until the game is over.
“Regardless of how many overtimes we play, that thing is in there,” Coach Cooper said. “I may not be grinding in the first period but by overtime or late in the third period it’s tough on the jaws."
Someone even started a parody Twitter account for Coach Cooper's gum.
“I didn’t ever realize I chewed that aggressively until that darn HDTV -- and you’re on television,” he said.
The Bolts take on the Capitals Friday night at 8 p.m. at Amalie Arena.