Woody Hayes surprised Charlie Bauman, the Clemson linebacker he slugged at the Gator Bowl, with a phone call from Ohio (we presume) Sunday, Bauman reports -- no apology, but, "He (Hayes) wanted to thank me on how I handled it... He wanted to know how I intercepted the pass... if it was a special play, and I said 'No.'" Bauman said he invited former coach Hayes to attend spring practice at Clemson this year -- and if he accepts, "I'd put him up."

In the middle of the fourth quarter at Piscataway a week ago, Cleveland Cavalier Coach Bill Fitch suddenly bellowed at player Terry Furlow out on court against the Nets, "Do that again and I'll kick your bottom!" When Fitch sent Austin Carr in to replace Furlow, at guard, Furlow yelled back, "No, you won't. Not you or anyone else. I'm ready when you are." Furlow, once suspended from Michigan State action by the Big Ten for slugging an Illinois player, got his reply in turn yesterday: the Cavs traded him to the Atlanta Hawks for Butch Lee.

The Touchdown Club of Washington has elected its 45th president for a year's term: Hugh M. Steinberger of Chevy Chase, president of a temporary personnel service. He succeeds John Gourley, who did a whale of a job, and will work with Bob Sigholtz, new vice president, and Al Makin, secretary-treasurer. Steinberger (U.-Va. '41, GW Law '50) played lacrosse on U. of Virginia's Dixie League champs.

Muhammad Ali -- don't spoil it by calling him retired yet, he pleads -- is so big that he says the TV networks are bidding for the exclusive rights to the occasion of his official retirement and the ante is up to $2 million.

"I don't know which network because they're all bidding," the heavyweight champion told 5,000 students at State University of New York at Albany. "They're giving me $2 million to retire just before a Spinks-Holmes fight. I'll come on television and I'll have a big party and laugh and say I'm retired and they'll show a round from each one of our biggest fights and then it's official -- I'm no longer champ; now these two guys will fight for the title."

No Leon Spinks-Larry Holmes fight has yet been set.

Two old contenders died in the past several days, fairly young: Glen Flanagan, 52, St. Paul, Minn., who came close to the featherweight title in the early '50s, and Trinidadian Yolande Pompey, 49, who led Archie Moore on points in a London challenge for the light heavy crown before being stopped in round 10... And dead after his first competitive bout, collapsed with an enlarged heart after being stopped in the second round of a Golden Gloves heavyweight match in New York's Felt Forum Tuesday night: Francisco Rodriguez, 25.

Mark McBath, the Texas quarterback who steered the Longhorns past Maryland in the Sun Bowl, has decided to skip his senior football campaign; will bear down to raise his grades so as to qualify for medical school.

We all make mistakes -- yesterday may have been 20th anniversary of John Thomas' 7-foot high jump but he wasn't first: Compton College's Charlie Dumas cleared 7-0 1/2 in 1956... And Colleen M. O'Neill (La Reine class of '80) calls the sports section for, in a recent story on Holy Cross' No. 1 girls basketball team, referring to "La Reine Academy." Come on, varsity player O'Neill says: it's La Reine High School.