WITH LAST night's game well out of reach in the fourth quarter, Engineering and Sciences head basketball coach C.M. Brown frantically asked referee Russell McCullough for a timeout.
"You guys don't even have the ball," McCullough said, laughing.
Surely, the only coach E&S has ever known knew the rule, but his attention was elsewhere. After a dead ball, a break was finally granted.
"I was trying to get a kid in the game," Brown said later with the hint of a smile on his face. "I didn't want the clock to run out on him."
There he was, less than 6 minutes from his 400th career victory, and Brown's thoughts were on getting senior center Steven Snipes some playing time in front of the home crowd.
The milestone eventually came after the 66-29 clubbing of GAMP was complete. And, Brown certainly acknowledged its significance and graciously accepted congratulations afterward.
But, a measured, humble and forward-thinking response followed.
"It means either one of two things," the 63-year-old Brown said of the mark. "I've been around a long time or we've been pretty successful. I think it's a combination of the two."
He added later: "Now we got it out of the way, so we can focus on the rest of the season."
E&S was led by junior big man Jonathan Hall. The 16-year-old from South Philly (near 23rd and Morris Streets) finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and one memorable story to tell.
"It's great to play for coach Brown," Hall said. "He's one of the most legendary coaches in Philadelphia. It's great to have a coach like that, where I can say my coach has 400 wins, and I was on that team to get it for him."
However, few have greater bragging rights than Brown's only son, Charles III, who left class at Eastern University a little early so he could make tipoff.
"I think he's the best coach in Philadelphia history," the proud son (he goes by Chaz) said with a chuckle.
Measured by wins, Brown certainly has an all-time coaching staff.
His assistants: longtime Murrell Dobbins Tech coach Rich Yankowitz (1972-2005, 486 wins) and former Ben Franklin skipper Ken Hamilton (1972-1999, 456). When you add Brown, who started coaching during the 1981-82 season, you get 1,342 total triumphs.
A trophy case just outside the gymnasium houses historic balls from some of Brown's most accomplished pupils, such as Lynn Greer, Will Chavis and John Cox, to name a few.
"There are just so many memories," Brown said, "it's impossible to pick just one that stands out."
After graduating in 1967 from Central, where he played basketball, football and baseball, Brown continued with hoops at Cheyney State.
It was there he learned the importance of ball control under head coach Hal Blitman. Brown has built teams based on that approach ever since.
"The mindset [yesterday] was really just to execute our offense and defense," Hall said after dismantling GAMP. "It wasn't really to get out into a big lead early, even though we did. It was just to execute what we wanted and dictate the flow of the game."
Senior guard Eric Lewis added 16 points. Dante Sanguilliano added 14 for GAMP, which was without its top scorer Jeff Williford, who was out with an injury.
A historic game, indeed, but Brown's son knows what truly makes his dad tick.
"It is a big accomplishment," Chaz said. "But I don't think he's going to celebrate. I think he's just happier the kids got a win."