Richie Moran, a University of Maryland graduate who coached Cornell to three NCAA lacrosse championships, is the Terrapins' No. 1 choice to replace Buddy Beardmore, who resigned late last week.

Although no contact officially has been made, sources at College Park said Moran is the man Acting Athletic Director Jim Kehoe wants. Kehoe was en route home yesterday from an Atlantic Coast Conference meeting and unavailable for comment.

"I did talk to some former players but to no administrative people," Moran said Tuesday from Ithaca, N.Y. "From the standpoint of professional advancement and opportunity, I'd have to discuss it with Jim Kehoe. I have lot of respect for him."

Asked how much he would be interested in the job, Moran replied: "I don't know enough about the job right now."

Moran said he tried to call Kehoe Saturday night, but learned that he was out of town.

"There was a story in a Baltimore newspaper that I would like to be the athletic director at Maryland," Moran said. "So I called Jim Saturday evening. I tried to inform him that I was not out for his job."

Moran, a 1959 Maryland graduate, is a native of Long Island -- a lacrosse hotbed -- and has coached at Cornell for 12 years. His teams have been in the national semifinals nine of the last 10 years.

Beardmore's 1980 team posted a 5-5 record, the first time the Terrapins failed to make the NCAA tournament. He said he had been thinking of getting out of coaching for the last year or two to go into private business.