Tommy Lee, Howard women's basketball coach, is not being rehired due, in part, to the athletic department's desire to have a woman coach the team.

Lee will be replaced by Dee Tyler, his assistant until late this season when Lee dismissed her because of conflicts in coaching philosophy.

Leo Miles, Howard athletic director, said, "We're not renewing him because . . . were just not. We gave him the job on an interim basis. He was here to fill out the year."

Lee denied that his temporary status was ever made clear to him. "I've been out recruiting and working on next year. They didn't even tell me I was fired," he said.

Lee said Miles offered "no excuses . . . only that they wanted a woman in there as coach."

"Yes, in the long run you can say that's the reason," Miles said.

Miles said the only reason he hired a man as interim coach was that "it was the most expedient action at the time."

Lee was further distressed that he had to hear the news from his players, but Miles said, "The fact is, I got to him as fast as possible. Tommy just got back from a vacation and I was trying to get him last week. I told him yesterday (Tuesday) and that was my first chance. I had been seeking him for awhile."

"If I hadn't heard from my girls they'd have let me go through with all the work and recruiting," Lee claimed. "With a couple of recruits we could be playing with Maryland and Cheyney State."

Howard was 12-10 this season, winning 10 of its last 12 games.

One Howard player, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "I think it's very unfair. I think it's reverse discrimination under Title 9. The girls adjusted very well to him (Lee)."