Lefty Driesell, Maryland's basketball coach the past 12 seasons, has been contacted by alumni of Davidson College wanting to know if he would be interested in returning to the North Carolina school as athletic director.

Driesell's answer: "I'm willing to listen is the school is interested."

The school is interested. "We're still in the very early stages of putting together a list of candidates," Dr. J. B. Stout, head of the search committee at Davidson, said yesterday. "But a lot of people have fond memories of what Lefty did here as basketball coach and we would certainly be interested in talking to him."

Driesell, who has a long-term contract at Maryland which pays him about $45,000 a year, not including camps, his TV show and endorsements, said he would be interested in Davidson, where he coached for 10 years before coming to Maryland, if the price was right.

"All I've had so far are some social conversations with some of my old friends from down there," Driesell said. "I told them that if the money was good enough, I'd certainly listen.

"That doesn't mean I want to get out of coaching or leave Maryland. It just means I'll listen and if they want, I'll talk to them. I have been talked to informally by some people. But that's all. Anything else is pure speculation."

On April 25, Buck Williams, his star returning player for next season, decided to pass up his senior season and turn pro, leaving Driesell with a small, young team for next season. He was unable to recruit a big man to replace Williams.

Driesell still is regarded as a hero at Davidson, where he took the basketball team from nowhere to a ranking as high as No. 3 in the country while compiling a record of 176-65. Davidson's program began to fall off after Driesell left and has been a consistent loser the last five seasons.

"Being an athletic director is very different than being a basketball coach; the skills required are very different," said Stroud, who came to Davidson as a math professor the same year as Driesell and is a friend of his. "But certainly because he hasn't done the job doesn't mean Lefty can't do it."

Stroud said that Davidson President Samuel Spencer would like the job filled by July 1. It became vacant when Gene Bingham resigned two weeks ago.

Driesell will be 50 on Dec. 25 and has talked at times of growing tired of recruiting and the pressures of coaching. "I ain't tired of coaching," he insisted yesterday. "All I'm doing is listening. If they make me the right offer, maybe I'll go. But I've always said that for the right money I'd go anywhere. It's still true."