MORE FOR MONTANA:

While the San Francisco 49ers are trying to "threepeat" as Super Bowl champions, QB Joe Montana has repeated as Associated Press male athlete of the year.

Montana became the fifth athlete to win the award twice and the fourth to win it consecutively, edging Texas Rangers P Nolan Ryan in balloting announced yesterday.

Last week, Montana was named the NFL's most valuable player for the second straight season by the AP.

Montana, 34, received 33 of a possible 138 first-place votes and 259 points.

Ryan, 43, who surpassed 5,000 career strikeouts and pitched his sixth no-hitter last season, had more first-place votes (36) but wound up with 254 points. Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings was a distant third with 11 first-place votes and 104 points.

NOT STANDING PAT:

Joe Collier, 58, out of football the past two years after serving seven seasons as Denver's assistant head coach for defense, was named defensive coordinator of the Patriots. In 1960-61, he was the defensive backs coach for the Patriots.

The Patriots, who last week hired Dick MacPherson to replace fired coach Rod Rust, also named Charlie West, who coached Denver's defensive backs from 1982 through 1988, to serve in that position. In 1989, West was defensive coordinator at Howard, which finished the season with the No. 1-ranked defense in Division I-AA.

LION TO FALCON:

June Jones, 37, quarterbacks and receivers coach for Detroit the past two years, was hired as Atlanta's offensive coordinator.

RETIRED:

Bill "Tiger" Johnson, 64, the Bengals' head coach from 1976-78 and their assistant coach for tight ends this season, has decided to retire.

DISCHARGED:

The Chargers told Vencie Glenn, their starting free safety since 1986, and veteran reserves LB Cedric Figaro and S Lester Lyles that they don't fit into the club's plans for 1991.

Meanwhile, the assistant credited with rebuilding San Diego's defensive line, Gunther Cunningham, has notified Coach Dan Henning that he won't be back next season.

DIAMOND EXCHANGE:

Jeff Diamond, 37, who has been the assistant general manager of the Vikings since 1984, has been promoted to vice president and assistant general manager in charge of finance and administration.

An assistant to former club president Mike Lynn, who left to run the new World League of American football, Diamond will take over Lynn's duties as chief negotiator of contracts.