"You look like a damn junior-high team. Get the damn bass drum out here," Haskins roars at his young troops.
"Sure I get on 'em," he says. "I get on officials, too. But I deserve about halt my reputation. If I'm not gettin' on 'em, my trainer is antagonizin' me enough to get on 'em. And then if I don't, he does."
Antagonizin' UTEP trainer Ross Moore was once almost expelled from a game himself. "You throwin' my trainer out?" The Bear cried to the referee. "Sack up the balls," he called to the manager. The trainer stayed.
An Oklahoma State player under Hank Iba, The Bear coached in the Texas truck stops of Benjamin, Hedley and Dumas before coming to El Paso. Once he got there, a local man told him, "You can kick rear against Arizona State. They don't cover nobody." Then Haskins looked up the previous year's score: ASU 119, UTEP 103. It has been defense at UTEP ever since.
That defense finished in the top five nationally in Haskins' first four years. Then he won the 1966 national championship in a shocking upset, only to be trailed by such abuse since then that, he says, "Sometimes I wish we had finished second."
The Bear says of defense: "If you get five guys who can pick up their feet and run down the floor and hustle, nobody should get 90 off you—nobody. Hell, we could be playing like a sack o' cats and still stop people from getting the cheap ones on breaks and stuff.
"They talk bad about our league in the East? Damn. When we joined the WAC I knew how tough it was. In '66 we played just about everybody in it. New Mexico had us down 16 at half up there, and we came back to win in overtime. We got to the finals against this Kentucky, which was scoring a whole bunch, 88 points a game, and I saw them and said if we stop the break, they won't get 65. Which is exactly what they got, and they shouldn't have got that.
"I tell you what," says The Bear. "I'd rather play Kentucky three times a week than play New Mexico at all."
Somewhere across the mountains one can almost hear The Fox and The Hippie and a few other mad WAC addicts whooping it up over that one, with cowboy hats flying, Indian beads dancing and six-guns smoking.