The University of the District of Columbia has a new kind of women's basketball coach for the new era in the new UDC gym at Connecticut Avenue and Yuma Street NW: Wendy McGriff.

For eight years, McGriff has coached the New Jersey "Big Heads," who earned repute as one of the best women's teams in the East; in 1979, McGriff's AAU senior women's team won the New Jersey state championship. mBig in Piscataway, too: consecutive titles at PHS and high school coach-of-the year honors in Middlesex County, 1975-76 and '76-77.

Now it's movin'-on-up time for this former all-conference athlete at U. of Wisconsin-Superior -- this 6-foot-5, 240-pound achiever who won those highs titles coaching boys while directing the Big Heads spare time -- this stalwart whose given name is Winthrop McGriff. Call him mister. . .

Dribbling over to the UDC Firebird men's team: Coach Wil Jones has a couple of showcases to launch 1981-82 season for Earl Jones, Michael Britt and the guys: Tip-Off Tournament in the new facility, Nov. 27-28, with Kentucky State, Southeastern and St. Paul's (Va.); and a shot at major opposition in Wichita's Dec. 4-5 tourney (UDC, Cincinnati, Pepperdine, Wichita State). That ought to sharpen 'em for rest of schedule (Scoreboard page).

The Hartford Whalers -- maybe with a little more money to play with since the Caps snookered them out of prospect Bobby Carpenter -- signed good goaltender Greg Millen yesterday, the better to try to hopscotch Washington in the standings. Millen played out his option at Pittsbrugh after three years (63 starts last season) and rises from $40,000 to a reported $160,000 annually plus $75,000 bonus for accepting the multiyear Whaler deal. Under NHL rules, Hartford must provide the Penguins "proper compensation," the kind the baseball owners are seeking, and if the teams reach no agreement in three days, an arbitrator makes an award. . . Football free-agent signee: BYU back Homer Jones, by the N.Y. Jets; his mom works on The Washington Post security desk. . .

The Warner Wolf chopped-liver sandwich on the New York deli menu: Its days may be numbered, though we dab on a grain of salt before passing this on N.Y. Daily News black-boxed a piece yesterday tabbing Dan Rather unhappy with sports anchor WW's ratings supposedly "weakening" on WCBS-TV's local news lead-in to CBS Evening News. Why, there's even a hint that Wolf might be packing for a return to Washington, where Channel 9 proved there's gold in the 6 and 11 p.m. sports slots even if one's initials are not WW. . .

Baseball fans rally against the strike tonight in Baltimore; at 7 outside Memorial Stadium, to sound off and maybe follow the wild Bird fancier to his favorite Greenmount Avenue beering hole.