SPORTS history, like all history, occasionally must be revised. And so Glenn (Pop) Warner's name could replace Paul (Bear) Bryant's in the pantheon of college football's coaching greats. With 323, Bryant has the most wins among Division I (major-college) coaches. He compiled his record at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama. But Warner could jump from third - behind Bryant and Amos Alonzo Stagg (314) - to first if 22 ``lost'' victories are added to Warner's 313.
The missing wins, found by a researcher preparing a soon-to-be-published biography of Warner, were recorded at Iowa State University from 1895 to 1900. Before anyone revises the record, though, the findings will be reviewed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association's statistics staff this week.
In Warner's case, it could be a subjective call, since he is credited with coaching several institutions at once. It is unlikely he could have coached in Iowa one day, then in Ithaca, N.Y. (at Cornell University), the next. Nominally, however, he was the coach at these institutions, as well as at the University of Georgia and Carlisle College in Pennsylvania.
Research shows that Warner coached various teams in the preseason, then moved on to handle in-season coaching elsewhere, leaving assistants to carry on, sometimes with the help of letters or telegrams from Warner. Jordan's transcendent popularity
Rick Telander, writing in Sports Illustrated, penned the best description I've seen of Michael Jordan's popularity in Chicago. In the wake of Jordan's recent retirement after nine pro seasons, Telander opined that ``if the Jordan posters were taken down from kids' bedrooms throughout Chicagoland all at once, whole buildings would collapse.''
Phil Knight, chairman of Nike, the company that reportedly generates about $200 million annually from the sale of Air Jordan sneakers, says that Michael's appeal far transcends a particular geographic region: ``He sells to Japanese kids, to Chinese kids, absolutely across every racial barrier, more than any other spokesman, maybe.''
The ninth edition of Air Jordans are due out this month, and its sales figures will be a source of intense industry interest. Touching other bases
* One of the strangest sights in televised sports recently was the sparse crowd that attended the Piruetten figure-skating event in Hamar, Norway. Spectators no doubt will be turned away from this new 6,000-seat arena next February during the Winter Olympics. Norwegians, the TV announcers explained, are not figure-skating buffs, and even a world-class field of skaters couldn't attract them. The irony is that one of the greatest names in figure-skating history, Sonja Henie, belonged to a Norwegian. Henie won three Olympic gold medals - in 1928, 1932, and 1936 - before becoming an American citizen and a Hollywood starlet.
* The greatest testament to Don Shula's coaching skill - besides the obvious six Super Bowl teams and 324 career victories (tying George Halas's National Football League record) - is his success playing backup quarterbacks. The coach of the Miami Dolphins is an impressive 46-11-1 when his teams have started substitutes in place of injured first-teamers. Their success reflects Shula's ability to groom replacements and not ask for more than they can deliver. Scott Mitchell had completed only two of eight passes in three years before standing in for Dan Marino this season. And despite having his first pass this season picked off and returned for a touchdown, Mitchell, with Shula's encouragement, quickly blossomed into a capable starter. In fact, Marino's understudy was named American Football Conference Player of the Week two of his first three games as Miami's starter.
* Here's a bit of baseball trivia, passed along by a friend, that is too good not to share: Besides being great hitters, what do Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron have in common? Each finished his major-league career in the city where he began, but for a different team: Babe Ruth began with the Boston Red Sox and retired with the Boston Braves. Willie Mays bracketed 14-plus years in San Francisco between service with the Giants and Mets in New York. Aaron played for the Braves in Milwaukee and Atlanta, but closed out his career with the Milwaukee Brewers.