Ron Meyer, the football coach at Southern Methodist University, has signed a four-year contract to coach the New England Patriots, the team announced yesterday.

Meyer, 40, was given a contract reportedly worth $700,000 for accepting the job previously turned down by John Robinson of Southern California and Joe Paterno of Penn State. SMU was 10-1 and won the Southwest Conference championship this season, but was ineligible for postseason play because it is on NCAA probation.

In other football news, Michigan's Bo Schembechler turned down a 10-year, $2.25-million offer to become coach and athletic director at Texas A&M. Schembechler, 52, Wolverine coach for 13 seasons, said, "I was almost flabbergasted when this opportunity presented itself. . . Frankly, I've come to the conclusion that there are things more important in this world than money. For that reason I've decided to stay in Michigan."

The Aggies were 7-5 this season, including an Independence Bowl victory, but there were rumors all season that Coach Tom Wilson would be fired. At season's end, Wilson's contract was extended through next season. He said yesterday that he would not resign to open the way for Schembechler . . .

At Annapolis, Navy Coach Gary Tranquill hired seven assistants, retaining three from former coach George Welsh's staff: offensive assistants Joe Krivak and Bill Haushalter and part-time assistant Pete Belichick. Tranquill also appointed Steve Dunlap from his former school, West Virginia, Nick Saban from Ohio State, Terry Lewis from East Carolina and Bobby Morrison from LSU.