Caution: Because of the graphic language, this column is presented with a 10-second delay.
Snug in your earplugs. Zip up your HazMat suit. Cinch up your goggles.
For the next two hours you're going to sit 10 feet behind Maryland coach Gary Williams, the human Cuisinart of college basketball. We're at Denver's Pepsi Center, and Maryland is about to tip off against Syracuse in round 2 of the NCAAs. "I always tell people, 'Sit behind his bench,' " says Orangemen coach Jim Boeheim, "because watching Wacko is so much better than watching the game itself."
Wacko is what Boeheim calls his golf buddy Williams, who is about to scream, run, skip, windmill, yank on his hair, sweat bathtubs and spin James Brown 360s until you are quite sure his carotid artery is going to burst right in front of your eyes.
"I have to interview him right after the game," says Terps color man Chris Knoche. "Sometimes his lip will be bleeding. Or his lips will be caked with white stuff. It's like he was playing."
Normally genteel until the game stalls, Williams gets off his seat along the sideline and goes into a catcher's crouch. His butt won't touch the chair for the rest of the night.
Beside himself because his players won't attack the 'Cuse zone, the 59-year-old Williams turns salmon pink. He wheels on his assistant coach, Jimmy Patsos, and hollers, "You dumb mother [deleted on delay]! Make them take the ball inside!"
Why does he scream at Patsos? Because it's scream or herniate, and Williams doesn't want to scream at the Maryland players on the court. In his 13 years with Williams, Patsos has been fired more times than Donald Trump's barber. But he never actually leaves. "I know he doesn't mean it," Patsos says. "He's one of my best friends in the world."
Williams is not a patient man, but the way the Terps are playing would make Glinda the Good Witch bite her wand in half. They seem to be wearing oven mitts. When freshman Ekene Ibekwe throws a pass over his head backward straight into a Syracuse player's hands, it looks like the top of Williams's head might blow off.