Maryland basketball Coach Lefty Driesell, a colorful and often controversial figure at the school for the past 15 years, has agreed to a new contract that will guarantee him a job with the university for the next 10 years. The new deal calls for Driesell to remain as coach for at least five years, with an option to remain at Maryland in a noncoaching capacity for five years whenever he stops coaching.

Driesell, who will be 53 on Christmas Day, has not signed the contract, but he and Athletic Director Dick Dull have agreed to it in principle. "We just need to work out some final details," Dull said yesterday. "There are no major problems with it."

Although neither Dull nor Driesell would reveal salary figures, it was learned that Driesell, who has been making $63,000 a year, now will make $70,000 annually. The new contract also includes provisions for a weekly television show during the Atlantic Coast Conference season.

"I don't believe in 10-year coaching contracts no matter what a coach has done," Dull said in explaining the contract. "I don't believe they are good things for either the university or for the coach. But Lefty is entitled to an extra five years on his contract because of what he has done at Maryland.

"Whenever he stops coaching, I see no reason why he can't be a long-term good will ambassador for the university. When Tom Fields leaves as head of the Terrapin Club, I could see Lefty filling that job if he wanted it or becoming promotions director if he wanted to do that."

Driesell said yesterday he was happy with the new arrangement and hoped the final details and the signing could be completed within the next week. "I'm glad I got a raise and glad Mr. Dull and the university want to keep me around for a while," Driesell said. "I've always said I'll keep coaching until I get tired of it and, right now, I'm not tired at all."

In fact, Driesell had his team on the practice court at 6:30 a.m. yesterday so he could start work on his offense. "I liked practicing then," he said. "And you know what? I think the kids liked it, too."

Driesell has worked for the past 10 years on an automatically renewing five-year contract. At the end of each year, the contract has renewed itself for five more years, meaning that if the school ever wanted to fire him, it would have had to pay him for four additional years.

Under the new contract, if Maryland decides to remove Driesell as coach, it must guarantee him employment in the athletic department for at least five more years, and pay him for the duration of the coaching portion of his contract.

In his 15 years as Maryland's coach, Driesell has taken a once-moribund program and made it a perennial ACC and national contender. He has a record of 304-133 at Maryland and an overall college coaching record (including nine years at Davidson) of 484-198. Since Driesell's arrival at Maryland, the Terrapins have won two ACC regular-season titles (1975 and 1980), one ACC tournament (last season) and been to the NCAA tournament six times. They won the 1972 National Invitation Tournament and have won 20 or more games seven times.

In spite of all Driesell's success, he has never reached the NCAA Final Four after promising shortly after his arrival that he would make Maryland "the UCLA of the East."

Two years ago, he was reprimanded by the university after telephoning a female student who had accused one of his players of sexual misconduct. Driesell was accused of trying to pressure the woman into dropping her accusations.

Driesell has been known for his outbursts on and off the court, for near-fights with arch rival Dean Smith of North Carolina and for his willingness to say almost anything anytime about anyone. He is No. 2 in ACC seniority behind Smith (23 years) and No. 2 in ACC won-lost record, also behind Smith. He has won more basketball games for Maryland than any other coach.

Last year's team came through a midseason controversy in which two players were convicted of marijuana possession. The squad went on to win the ACC tournament, then lost in the NCAA round of 16, finishing 24-8.

"I think Maryland should be very happy with the basketball program it has," Driesell said yesterday. "We've won games, we've filled the field house, we've made money and our players graduate. I was proud of last year's team for winning the ACC tournament, but at least as proud of the fact that all five of our seniors (including Steve Rivers, who was thrown off the team) graduated.

"I said last year that I thought I deserved a raise and I'm glad the school agreed with me."

Dull, when asked how much longer he thought Driesell would remain as Maryland's coach, laughed and said, "Lefty will probably dance on my grave." record, also behind Smith. He has won more basketball games for Maryland than any other coach.

Last year's team came through a midseason controversy in which two players were convicted of marijuana possession. The squad went on to win the ACC tournament, then lost in the NCAA round of 16, finishing 24-8.

"I think Maryland should be very happy with the basketball program it has," Driesell said yesterday. "We've won games, we've filled the field house, we've made money and our players graduate. I was proud of last year's team for winning the ACC tournament, but at least as proud of the fact that all five of our seniors (including Steve Rivers, who was thrown off the team) graduated.

"I said last year that I thought I deserved a raise and I'm glad the school agreed with me."

Dull, when asked how much longer he thought Driesell would remain as Maryland's coach, laughed and said, "Lefty will probably dance on my grave."