Jim Lynam, American University basketball coach for the past five years, was in Philadelphia yesterday and reportedly was offered the vacant job at St. Joseph's College, his alma mater.

Lynam was reportedly en route to Washington last night and could not be reached for comment. He apparently was expected to make his decision when he returned. St. Joseph's has tentatively scheduled a press conference this afternoon.

Although some sources say Lynam was clearly the No. 1 choice, his appointment apparently has been delayed because of a deadlock within the selection committee. Charlie Schmaus, Virginia Military Institute coach, was the other contender.

Contacted last night at his Lexington, Va., home, Schmaus said that he had not talked with Don DiJulia, St. Joe athelic director and Lynam's brother-in-law, for the past two days.

Schmaus was a surprise candidate for the job, vacated when Harry Booth was fired last month. Schmaus posted a 47-11 record the past two seasons at VMI after moving up from the top assistant's job at his alma mater.

Other coaches interviewed were Herb Magee, head coach at Philadelphia Textile; Alan Rowe, head coach at Widener; Jim Boyle, No. 1 assistant under booth at St. Joe, and James Dougher, assistant coach at Holy Cross.

Some members of the nine-member St. Joe athletic policy board reportedly thought that St. Joe should brake a 25-year tradition and seek a nonalumnus to coach the Hawks. Lynam, whose efforts at AU were handicapped by lack of an on-campus gym, is a legend in his hometown. A guard in his playing days, he was Big Five player of the year in 1963.

Bob Frailey, AU athletic director, said he had talked with Lynam yesterday afternoon. "We talked about some things that were personal," he said. "As far as I know, I still have a basketball coach."

Asked what kind of a coach he would seek if Lynam took the St. Joseph's job, as expected, Frailey replied, "What's my track record?"

In hiring Tom Young, now at Rutgers and Lynam, Frailey has chosen young men who were assistant coaches at the time of their appointment, Young at Maryland and Lynam at St. Joseph's.

"They were both winners and they have class," Frailey said. "That's what I want - a winner with class."

Good possibilities are Joe Boylan of Rutgers and former AU assistant under Young: Wil Jones of Maryland, a former AU All-America; Alan Srebnick. Lynam's top aide at AU: Gary Williams of Boston College, a Maryland graduate, and, as a longshot, Marty Fletcher of Niagara.

Fletcher, 26, was an assistant coach at De Matha High for seven years.