How a kid from Kenosha became the first ‘Barber of the Bears’

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — This time of year at most barber shops in Chicago, you’ll likely find people talking about the Bears.

But at Lawrence Funk's barbershop, you're more likely to find them talking TO the Bears.

Funk is the official “Barber of the Bears," and he handles the hair of everyone from the coach to the quarterback.

It all happened by accident for a kid from Kenosha with a curious name. His mother was a beautician, and had hair clippers and scissors around the house, so he started cutting his own hair. Then, he started trimming his friends and family. Soon he attended barber school, and now owns Funk’s Barbershop, which he has decorated with hand-selected antiques.

It was two "guys" wandering into his shop that changed his professional life forever.

"I remember I was cutting hair, and I had this door open, and they walked in, and O’Donnell is like 6’5,” so he’s a big guy, and they’re both athletic, so I’m like, ‘OK, what’s up boys?'" Funk recalled.

It was Bears punter Pat O’Donnell, and back-up quarterback David Fales.

“Someone had recommended me to him. Me and a former teammate went in there, and the rest is history," O'Donnell said.

Funk had no idea who they were.

"I’ve never been a fan of football," Funk said.

But through casual conversation in the chair, he found out they were Chicago Bears

"He told me, I’m like, ‘pretty cool,’” Funk said.

"He’s a cool guy, down to earth guy, talks anything but football, if you want to," O'Donnell said. "It’s cool to have a guy like that to bounce ideas off of."

O'Donnell left the barber’s chair like he just emerged from a Metropolis phone booth.

"Clark Kent," Funk said of O'Donnell. "He’s probably got the fullest, blackest head of hair on the team I think.”

And soon, O'Donnell's teammates wanted the same super-hero look.

When Jay Cutler went from the lazy "Bieber bangs" to a stylish magazine cover boy, it was Funk’s handiwork. Now he’s getting a new Bears quarterback "magazine ready."

“Mitch Trubisky is one of my regulars. He says, 'Look good, feel good – play good,'" Funk said.

Former Bears tight end Zach Miller is another client.

"Zach Miller was cutting his own hair since high school, college and into the NFL. Never had a professional haircut essentially," Funk said.

Miller’s “exaggerated gentleman’s cut” caught the eye of General Manager Ryan Pace

"Zach called me and said, ‘‘Hey do you mind if I send my GM to you?’ No problem," Funk said.

Pace went from a gee-whiz to a GQ. As his hair clipped off, a “lightbulb” went on.

"He said, ‘Hey man, I’m thinking about doing a barber shop at Halas Hall, would you be interested in running it for us?' '100 percent, I’m in.  I do a lot of you guys. It’d be perfect,'” Funk said.

So when the Bears completed a multimillion dollar expansion of Halas Hall, the team added barber chairs and made him the first "Barber of the Bears."

"Now he’s cutting in the bears locker room. It’s cool," O'Donnell said. "He’s like family now."

Now even the famously bald-headed head coach Matt Nagy goes to Funk for shave and beard trim before every game.

"I straight razor his whole head, I straight razor his beard, I line everything up, and that’s a game ritual," Funk said of Nagy. "He calls it the winning ritual."

A close shave for the coach, and a big win for the barber who certainly "makes the cut."


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