Ex-Jets owner Werblin is dead at 81David A. "Sonny...

Sports briefly

November 23, 1991

Ex-Jets owner Werblin is dead at 81

David A. "Sonny" Werblin, who signed Joe Namath and helped bring credibility to the American Football League, died of a heart attack, his wife said yesterday in Rumson, N.J.

Werblin died Thursday. He was 81.

He was a founding owner of the New York Jets, then the Titans, the first chairman of the agency that built the 750-acre Meadowlands complex and chief executive officer of Madison Square Garden.

He also was a talent agent, once representing Johnny Carson and Elizabeth Taylor and was instrumental in putting together the Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason shows. "My life," he said, "has been selling tickets."

Werblin's signing of Namath to the Jets in January 1965 for $427,000 a year, an unheard of salary at the time, helped start a bidding war for football players that led to the merger of the AFL and NFL.

Golf

Tom Purtzer and Lanny Wadkins combined to shoot an opening-round 61 to take a three-stroke lead in the $1 million Greg Norman Shark Shootout in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The unique tournament has a different format for each of its three days. Yesterday, scores were determined by using the lowest score of each team member on each hole for that team's score on the hole.

* Mark Brooks shot a 4-under-par 68 to widen his lead to two strokes over Japan's Katsuji Hasegawa with a 134 total after two rounds of the Dunlop Phoenix, Japan's richest golf tournament, in Miyazaki.

* Sally Little shot a 3-under-par 69 for a 36-hole total of 137 and a one-shot lead over Caroline Keggi after the second round of the $150,000 Mitsubishi Motors Worldwide Pro-Am Golf Championship in Phoenix.

* Laura Davies of Britain, the 1987 U.S. Women's Open champion, shot a 6-under-par 66 and took a two-shot lead after the first round of the Elleair Women's Open in Saitacho, Japan.

College soccer

Catonsville Community College (12-8-1), making its first appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association's women's championships, used a goal by Amy Leishear to beat Mercer County CC, 1-0, in the semifinals in Trenton, N.J. Catonsville will play St. Louis CC-Meramec tomorrow for the championship.

In the men's semifinals, host Mercer County CC (23-0) won, 5-1, against Essex CC (20-4-1). Danny Santoro scored a second-half goal for Essex, which was without starters Joe Bailey (red card) and Jon Pillion (knee injury).

Auto racing

A. J. Foyt said he expects to lose 35 pounds and continue rehabilitation on his injured feet and legs and may drive in a record 35th consecutive Indianapolis 500 in May.

Now on a special diet and wearing newly fitted ankle braces that he received this week, the four-time Indy 500 winner says he's rethinking his retirement plans.

College football

Ohio State coach John Cooper will sign a three-year contract extension after today's game with Michigan, according to WCMH and WBNS-TV, with both stations citing unidentified sources. WCMH said Ohio State's athletic director, Jim Jones, would neither confirm nor deny the story.

Tennis

Ken Flach and Robert Seguso rolled to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over second-seeded fellow Americans David Pate and Scott Davis in the ATP World Doubles Final in Johannesburg, South Africa. Flach and Seguso, seeded third, are undefeated going into today's semifinals. The loss was the third for Pate and Davis in the round-robin competition.

Boxing

Donovan "Razor" Ruddock (27-3-1, 18 knockouts), who lost his last two fights to Mike Tyson, will return to the ring in late January in Las Vegas to meet former heavyweight champion Greg Page (35-9, 24 knockouts), promoter Murad Muhammad said.

Ruddock, who suffered a broken jaw in the second Tyson bout, is ranked No. 5 by the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation and No. 3 by the World Boxing Council. Page has won four straight fights.

* Genaro Hernandez (24-0, 13 knockouts) of Los Angeles knocked out Frenchman Daniel Londas (55-8-1) in the ninth round to win the vacant World Boxing Association super-featherweight title in Epernay, France.

Figure skating

A back ailment has forced national figure skating champion Tonya Harding to withdraw from the NHK Trophy in Hiroshima Dec. 12-14. Harding pulled a back muscle Nov. 4 during practice.

Bowling

Marc McDowell of Madison, Wis., won 13 of his last 16 games to earn the top seed for today's championship round of the Professional Bowlers Association $150,000 Chevy Truck Classic in Rochester, N.Y.

Ex-Jets owner Werblin is dead at 81

David A. "Sonny" Werblin, who signed Joe Namath and helped bring credibility to the American Football League, died of a heart attack, his wife said yesterday in Rumson, N.J.

Werblin died Thursday. He was 81.

He was a founding owner of the New York Jets, then the Titans, the first chairman of the agency that built the 750-acre Meadowlands complex and chief executive officer of Madison Square Garden.

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