Wanted: Somebody, anybody, about 6 feet 2, weighing around 200 pounds age 18-20 or so to take on the world with personality and a pair of boxing gloves - in the name of Great Britain.

The sun set on the British Empire as far as the world heavyweight title goes with the dethroning of Bob Fitzsimmons in 1899. Oh, there was a moment - fleeting - when Henry Cooper caught the young Muhammad Ali with a left hook that floored him. But since Enry faded around 1971 - it's been a sorry lot in the Isles, laments fight manager Johnny Griffin. As far as he is concerned, the hundt for a great British hope is a lost cause, Griffin told the Reuter news agency, so he would be advertising in the U.S.A for an American to cross the sea and win the world championship as a surrogate British boxer.

Griffin said he has gotten up $18,000 from family sources for any Yank heavyweight who will settle in the city of Leicester, central England, train under Griffin and then go 10 fights without losing. He made a similar offer to Britons that drew 80 hopefuls to Leicester, only to leave him mumbling, "Not one of them would have made a good six-around fighter let alone any sort of champion."

Oh yes, one more qualification - bring personal magnetism (not a magnet) along with those mitts; with that, sky's the limit after the 10-bout trial by fire, Griffin exhorts. Opportunity knocks, big guys. . .

And local boxers of all weights are reassured by Armony Board - er, Starplex - general manager Bob Sigholtz that the projected tournament for unranked pros is going to get off the ground after all. Officials met with fighters' managers and worked out a Thanksgiving Eve compromise on the entry-fee hassle, reports Sigholtz, adding that lo and behold, the next day he had 12 entrants to begin with. New date for openers: Jan. 4 in the Armory . . .

Turning pro, not Jan. 4 in D.C. but Jan. 5 in Portland, Maine: Dale Staley, one of Sugar Ray Leonard's premier opponents in Prince George's amateur ranks - they fought a rouser in the '75 Golden Gloves. Staley, 147 pounds, and managed by fellow District Heights resident Chris Cline - he's back - will take on Johnny O'Brien and try to emulate Cline's 149 pounder, Wilson Bell of D.C. who KO'd Joey Houston, 156, Lowell, Mass., on the Mike Hagler-Mike Colber holiday card in Portland . . .

And that National Fan Pool had

A faculty-student athletic policy committee at William and Mary has recommended immediate discontinuance of varsity football. In a preliminary report to the board of visitors at the Williamsburg, Va., school, the committee said the football program will have a $320,000 deficit by 1982 at the present rate and level of competition. "This is only a preliminary report," stressed college president Thomas A. Graves. He said the board of visitors will meet next week to study alternatives and will "make a decision near the end of February." W&M will have Division 1 football or none. Graves added: "If we have football, we'll have the best program possible . . . We're dedicated to excellence in our whole range of academics and athletics" . . .

Duane (Pancho) Carter, one of Indycar racing's better known drivers, cracked up at Phoenix International Raceway yesterday and was injured critically. On a test run, his first ride in the Lightning-Cosworth car he planned to drive on the 1978 circuit, it rammed a guardrail at 160 m.p.h. and burst into flames. Auto destroyed. Carter to emergency surgery with multiple fractures and international injuries (no burns) . . .

Johnny Darden, playmaking guard on the U. of Tennessee basketball team, almost drowned in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale. The Vols, in Arizona for the Fiesta Classic tournament in Tempe, were relaxing at a hotel swimming pool when Darden apparently hit his head on the side of the pool. He sank to the bottom and was pulled unconscious from the water by teammate James Meriweather. Other Vols applied artificial respiration until the rescue squad arrived. Darden should be O.K. after a couple days in hospital. James Ratiff, the touted frosh frontcourter from D.C. Eastern, is on the Vol team - broke in with four points the other night.

Alabama State of Montgomery forfeited its Thursday basketball date at Tennessee State because coach Floyd Laisure refused to take his team on a six-day, 2,000-mile road trip in "second-class travel conditions." The school failed to provide "big, roomy buses where the guys can stretch their legs," Laisure said, making him and his 12 stalwarts go by mini-van. A-State officials said they would send a substitute team to Grambling for tonight's game if Laisure doesn't relent. And he was last heard saying, "If a man never makes a stand, he's less than a man. I've got to take a stand on this." Tough to stand in a mini-van . . .

Oh, again. The National Football League is offended by use of the word "experiment" as to its new scheduling plan as detained in The Post on Friday. The plan is firm for years to come, NFL insists . . .

To be revived at the basketball meetings next week in Hawaii: proposal to boost the best-of-five league championship series to best-of-seven.

From Peter Gruenstein, executive director of the consumerist FANS outfit (Ralph Nader "chairman of the board of advisers"): "How many cheap shots are you going to take at FANS in FanFare?" So we wondered if the jabs of Tank McNamara on the comic page nettled Gruenstein, who amiably advised that Jeff Millar and Bill Hinds, who create "Tank," are designing a logo button for FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation's Sports). For the nonce, FF buttons its lip . . . better hurry with its rankings out of its Chapel Hill, N.C., headquarters. Response by You the People is called for after Associated Press ranked North Carolina No. 1 in its preseason poll of writers and broadcasters - then knocked the Tar Heels down to second (beneath Kentucky) after they won their opener by a piddling 31 points over regon State. That National Fan Poll. P.O. Box 2715, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514, you Terp and Hoya fans. Lots of luck . . .