Hob Hopkins was promoted from assistant to head coach of the NBA's Seattle Super Sonics yesterday, succeeding his cousion, Bill Russell.

They say Hopkins is a, diseiplinarian, and obviously he's not dumb: he says the team he would like to pattern his after is the Portland Trail Blazers. Hopkins, 42, was a record basketball scorer at Grambling and was drafted into the pros by the Syracuse Nationals in 1956, the year Russell joined the Boston Celtics out of U. of San Franciso. Hopkins was a successful small-college coach at Prairie View A&M, Alcorn State and New Orleans Xavier before joining Russell in Seattle three years ago.

"Hop won't worry about making the playoffs," said Sonic guard Slick least that much, he'll kill some peo-Watts,' who played three years under Hopkins at Xavier. "If we don't do at ple. I'm not kidding, he'll kill them."

Maybe. Hopkins said, "A lot of guys just don't have the discipline to punish themselves. So it's up to the coach to drive them. I want players who have the heart to work hard."

I know as a coach there will quite a few changes made. Certain players who don't like to practise don't fit in."

Spooooon!!???

As for Russell, while negotiations went on to buy out the final year of his contract, he spent the past few weks backpacking in western Canada. "Just to do it," he said. "My life is the best it's ever been right now, in every way. Now I'm going to clmb Mt. Rainier this summer" . . .

Another retiree from coaching: Gill Steinke, whose Texas A&I football Javelinas have won last 30 games and three consecutive NAIA championships. Steinke, 23 years on the job at Kingsville after playing five NEL years with the Philadelphia Bagles, is the chap who coaches not from the sidelines but from a seat in the stands, sending in suggestions by runner . . .

Yankee soap opera, episode N. 51377: president Gabe Paul flays manager Eilly Martin for flaying owner George Steinbrenner for failing to call up lefthand-hifting Ered Mendricks from Syracase in a pinch and leaving the roster a man short. Paul said, "Martin was asked to report to my office on May 10 . . . Billy failed yo show up . . . If he had, the 25the player would have been added and the master would have been settled then and there. As it is, Paul recalled outfielder Dell Alston from the International League yesterday. Alston hit 338 with 13 stolen bases for Syracase; Hendricks is at 105. Said paul about Martin's blast in the wake of a loss at Scatle: "Frankly, if we have to depend on a player hitting 105 at Syracause to enable us to beat an expansion club, with the kind of talent that has been provided we are indeed in bad trouble" . . .