The mustache

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From his iconic mustache to his hilarious blog, BYU men’s volleyball setter Ryan Boyce is a leader on the court and a unique individual off of it.

Boyce, a senior, stays within the bounds of the Honor Code by maintaining a well-groomed mustache. His facial hair has been a defining feature of the No. 1 BYU team for over a year now.

“I’ve been growing the mustache for a year and a half, almost two years probably,” Boyce said. “I think it’s just a part of me now.”

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BYU setter Ryan Boyce has become a fan favorite this season with his mustache. (Photo by Whitnie Soelberg)

Fans of the BYU volleyball team have noticed Boyce and his mustache this season and embraced both. Fans and supporters come to the game with fake mustaches of their own and signs supporting the facial hair.

People close to Boyce have noticed it too. They love it, even if they give him a hard time about it. One of those people is his coach, Chris McGown.

“The most common joke is that it makes him look like a 40-year-old man,” McGown said. “I told him, ‘Dude, I’m a 43-year-old man, and you don’t look nearly as good as I do with that mustache.’ I think it makes him look 53.”

Boyce realizes the mustache makes him look older but doesn’t think he’d look that much younger without it.

“I’d look a little bit younger, I guess,” Boyce said. “I’d probably look 60 years old instead of 80 years old.”

Another person close to Boyce is teammate Taylor Sander. Sander “loves” the mustache but isn’t interested in growing one himself because he isn’t married and still needs to woo a companion. He said a mustache might deter a potential spouse from being interested.

“I’m not going to grow one myself,” Sander said. “He’s married, I’m not, so I’ve got to keep that in mind.”

Boyce said when he first started growing the mustache, he did it as an experiment to see if he and his wife would like it. He compared it to “shaving your head over the summer.” A year and a half later he still likes it, and his wife now approves of it, so it has stayed.

Tara Boyce, his wife, and perhaps the person whose opinion counts the most, didn’t always approve of it though.

“After his dad randomly had health problems and had to go to the hospital for some little thing, Ryan decided, kind of as a joke, to grow out his mustache in support of his dad,” Tara Boyce said. “It was hideous for a really long time. It was disgusting, and I hated it. I kept telling him he should shave it after his dad got out of the hospital. And then he kept it, and one day he said to me, ‘Tara, it’s just a part of me now.'”

It has grown on Tara Boyce since then.

“When Ryan told me his mustache was a part of him, I said, ‘Okay, I’ll accept that part of you,'” Tara Boyce said. “Now I can’t imagine him without it.”

It’s difficult for Ryan Boyce or any of his teammates to imagine what he would look like without the mustache too.

“I don’t remember seeing him without it, so it’s just something we’re so used to,” Sander said. “It fits his personality. He’s a tough guy. It seems to fit him really well.”

McGown thinks Ryan Boyce is stuck with the mustache now, and it is something he can’t get rid of because it is a part of who he is and something the team’s fans expect to see at every match.

“It started as a joke, you know, ‘I’m going to grow a mustache’ type thing, and it’s taken over and become larger than life, this persona unto itself,” McGown said. “He can’t cut it off at this point. It’s who he is, and it’s funny that a mustache defines him now.”

Fans hold up signs during a game in the Smith Fieldhouse. (Photo by Sarah Hill)
Fans hold up signs celebrating Ryan Boyce’s mustache during a game at the Smith Fieldhouse. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

Ryan Boyce is fine with that because he has no plans to shave it, even after graduation.

Josh Hawkins, an English major, is a self-described big-time fan of the volleyball team. He has been to every volleyball match this year and even had the opportunity to be the honorary coach for a game. He has a lot of respect for Ryan Boyce for being himself and sporting his mustache.

“More power to him,” Hawkins said. “I can respect a man who sticks to his guns. I appreciate that he is his own person and doesn’t do what everyone else thinks. That’s cool; that’s very admirable. I love that attribute — you don’t need to conform to some great standard and get rid of your personality to be the best people can can be.”

Ryan Boyce isn’t someone to care a lot about receiving attention, but he appreciates the support of the fans of his mustache, of the team and of volleyball.

“Right on,” Ryan Boyce said. “Make it happen. Just enjoy yourselves, come to the games. If you’re supporting mustaches, awesome. If not, come anyway.”

The message Ryan Boyce’s mustache sends to his fans is simple: be yourself, stay true to who you are and you will be happy.

“You’ve got to take life seriously, but at the same time you’ve got to have fun with it,” Ryan Boyce said. “At times you get frustrated or you get a little down or things aren’t going your way, but life is life. It’s going to throw you curve balls and it’s going to hit you in the face once in a while, but if you can find some good stuff and concentrate on that, life’s good.”

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