Dean Ehlers, athletic director at James Madison U. for a decade, has agreed to run the athletic program at Memphis State and will report before the end of October.

Memphis State named Ehlers yesterday less than 24 hours after accepting Bob Patterson's resignation; he spent only 15 months on the job. Ehlers, 53, coached MSU basketball 1962-66.

Patterson quit after reading a newspaper article quoting Tom Carpenter, Memphis State president, as saying that a new athletic director might be in order -- this after Patterson was hospitalized briefly last week with chest pains. "I had a little scare last week. My blood pressure was up, but my heart is fine," Patterson said. "I was told I had to lose weight and to quit burning both ends of the candle." Then, the Carpenter story, and Patterson felt "like I've been hit by a ton of bricks."

Ehlers leaves Harrisonburg, Va., standing taller than Harrisonburg native Ralph Sampson--atop a burgeoning JMU basketball program and a football triumph over Virginia. Patterson, in Memphis, finishes up by watching the Tigers try to break a 10-game football losing streak, Saturday versus visiting Georgia Tech . . .

Illinois' 59-year-old Memorial Stadium will be rockin' as the 3-0 Illini play Pitt, but engineering consultants -- called after overly good vibrations last game -- advise folks not to rock too hard Saturday.

Fans reported structural movement in some upper rows during Illinois' victory over Michigan State, prompting the examination that confirms the "essential structural integrity and safety" of the stadium in Champaign but, caution:

"There has been a noticeable increase in organized swaying, frequently in unison, with rhythmic music played by the band," said Vice Chancellor Donald Wendel, asking students to ease up. "We will begin discussions immediately with band director Gary Smith to make necessary changes in the types of music to be played . . ."

Georgia's Herschel Walker has news for Saturday night's opponent, South Carolina: he stiff-armed a teammate in practice and no pain in his right thumb. Reset pins have been removed . . . Clemson's Homer Jordan, the quarterback with the 1982 auto of interest to NCAA investigators: Franklin County, Ga., authorities are holding his driver's license -- in lieu of $50 for driving 73 mph in a 55 zone Sept. 11.