Virginia Athletic Director Dick Schultz said last night that the school has reached agreement with its top choice for the vacant head football coaching job. An announcement, Schultz said, is likely Wednesday, allowing the new coach time to tell his former players his decision.

Schultz would not name the replacement for Dick Bestwick, fired last month. But The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported it would be Navy Coach George Welsh.

Welsh was unavailable for comment early this morning.

A source at Virginia said the finalists for the job were Welsh, Carmen Cozza of Yale and Herb Deromedi of Central Michigan.

Last night, Deromedi said he was "not the guy." A source at Yale said Athletic Director Frank Ryan had been told Schultz had not selected Cozza.

Schultz called the report of Welsh's hiring "purely speculative."

Sources said Welsh has met with Navy Athletic Director Bo Coppedge twice since being interviewed at Virginia. He has also met with the athletic board, although the subject of that meeting is not known.

Welsh, 48, has been mentioned prominently for a number of coaching jobs because of his success at Navy, where his nine-year record is 55-45-1. He has one game remaining, the Liberty Bowl against Ohio State Dec. 30.