James Lessig, athletic director at Bowling Green State University, rejected an offer yesterday from the University of Maryland to become the school's athletic director, leaving Dick Dull, assistant athletic director, as the apparent front-runner for the job.

Lessig was offered the job by Chancellor Robert Gluckstern on Tuesday and yesterday issued a statement saying that while he appreciated the "great opportunity," being offered by Maryland, he would remain at Bowling Green, which is a member of the Mid-American Conference.

Lessig, Dull and Roy Kramer, Vanderbilt athletic director, are the three finalists who were brought back for a second round of interviews by Gluckstern. The chancellor took over personal supervision of the search for a replacement for Jim Kehoe last month after the six-man list put together by the school's search committee was published in The Washington Post.

Kehoe is retiring on Aug. 1. Gluckstern is expected to make a recommendation to the board of regents shortly. The regents have told Gluckstern that any of the three finalists would be acceptable and will almost certainly be approved at their meeting June 19.

Dull is being pushed strongly by Kehoe. In spite of that, Gluckstern's first choice was Lessig, not surprising in light of differences over the years between Gluckstern and Kehoe.