Trivia test: What were the Sails in pro sports?

San Diego's American Basketball Association team, that's that (if you remembered, you beat us) - and now one Frank Kowalski, 41, has done his bit for the sports world, giving the San Diego NBA team a name:

Clippers.

For pleasing owner Irv Levin above all other 700 submissions in a fan contest, Kowalski gets to attend free, with companion, all home games of the Clipper's inaugural campaign, plus a road trip to Golden State, expenses paid.

That reminds us, the coach of the ABA Sails, Bill Musselman, got a job the other day: coaching the minor league Reno Bighorns. They're in the new eight-team Western Basketball Association, but maybe Musselman, earlier the villain of the U. of Minnesota probation piece, can afford it - not long ago he won a $177,800 suit against the Sail's owners for breach of contract. That was about the same time Skip Wise, the former Clemson player serving a 12-year heroin sentence, lost a similar action seeking $111,500 from the Claws.

The Claws? Sure, the Baltimore ABA team that signed Wise for two years in 1975 only to dissolve without ever playing a game . . .

Mustang Mania. Oh, that's only Russ Potts wheelin' it again. Southern Methodist's new athletic director by way of Maryland has issued his first football schedule cards for SMU, using that lable - maniacs may be needed for the Ponies to cope with Florida, Penn State and Ohio State besides all those Southwest Conference powers . . . Back at the ranch, er, College Park, Coach Jerry Claibourne comments on the earliest of the big national preseason rankings, Playboy's, pegging his Terrapins 12th in tha land on a projected 9-2 record (so there, ACC media): "It's good publicity. I hope they know what they're talking about. It surprises me, since we don't have an established quarterback." You can't tell a book by its cover, coach? . . . Chuck White, the New York Jet rookie receiver from Maryland (and Woodbridge), caught a TD pass against Atlanta in Giants Stadium Monday night - and, where else are they now, ex-Terp, '77 Jet castoff Frank Russell latched into a 19-yard TD from graybeard QB Ron Lancaster for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a Canadian League loss to Winnipeg last week . . .

The Caribous of Colorado, and another name from the past: Mike Menchel, former Redskin publicist now director of operations for the Denverbased North American Soccer League club. He confirms the owners are negotiating to sell to an Atlanta group that would move the club to Georgia - and, presumably, put Menchel out of work again. NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam meantime flew Memphis to talk with local interests trying to save Rogues from almost sealed sale to mighty Gulf & Western Industries (parent of the Madison Square Garden company) and move to New York where they'd butt heads with the Cosmos for customers . . .

Former Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Joe Gilliam has left the semipro Pittsburgh Wolf Pak (5-1, as he hit 44 of 89 passes for 607 yards, eight TDs), "due to irreconcilable differences with the coaching staff." So much, evidently, for any progress he was making toward a return to the NFL . . . Current Steeler QB Terry Bradshaw returned to training camp, pointed to the broken nose he incurred Saturday night versus the Colts and joshed, "I guess this is the end of my movie career." Bradshaw had a bit part in the Burt Reynolds flick about stuntmen, "Hooper" . . . The film biography of Steeler running back Rocky Bleier, "Fighting Back" (from Vietnam war wounds to NFL stardom, is due for TV showing come football season . . . Then there's "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh." That is an "astrological-musical comedy" featuring Julius Erving and Meadowlark Lemon, which has just gone into production (if on schedule). Dr. J plays a player-coach whose zodiac sign is Pisces teammates and away they go . . .One more: Bernard King of the N.J. Nets is featured in "Fast Breaks," starring Gabe (Kotter) Kaplan as a New York publisher who, realizing his longtime dream to coach a college basketball team, heads for the playgrounds of the Apple to assemble his dream team . . .

Netswise, whoever rescues the franchise will have to get NBA team's equipment out of hock at the Sakel Moving & Storage warehouse in Perth Amboy. Sheriff's deputies hauled it there from the Rutgers field house in Piscataway the other day . . . Dreamwise, one of the officials in the Jets-Falcons exhibition was free-lance writer Jack Clary. At a Super Bowl press conference, Commissioner Pete Rozelle said it might be possible for a media person to join an NFL officiating crew for a preseason game. "He threw down the challenge," press-box denizen Clary said; "I accepted." Clary undertook extensive preparation for his night as a zebra, and got his shot in East Rutherford, N.J. - line judge the first quarter, rotating to umpire for the second quarter (he made the touchdown call on Chuck White's catch), to side judge for the second half. He called a couple of penalties but his night's work was cut short - a violent lighting and thunderstorm caused the game to be called with 1 minute 39 seconds left. "It's a whole other world on the field," he said.

Wes Unseld stars again Thursday, Aug. 17, with a special citation as the Touchdown Bullets at a noon luncheon. Frand Herzog emcees ($8 a plate; call 223-1542) . . . Leon Spinks is due in New Orleans today to hype the Sept. 15 fight with Muhammad Ali and "allow every segment of the New Orleans community to see and talk with him." Odds Spinks shows up?