First UCLA's Terry Donahue said thanks but no thanks to the Arizona State football coaching job, then Virginia's George Welsh came, saw and said never mind. Now comes a "not interested" from West Virginia's Don Nehlen in the search for a successor to Darryl Rogers, who left ASU Feb. 6 to coach the NFL's Detroit Lions (after saying he was not interested).

Arizona State also expressed interest in Nevada-Las Vegas' Harvey Hyde and South Carolina's Joe Morrison. Both said they were not interested.

"I'm not going anywhere, I'm pretty excited about what's happening here at West Virginia," Nehlen said from Hawaii, at a coaches' gathering sponsored by an athletic shoe firm . . .

Joe Paterno, the Penn State football coach also currently in Hawaii, "inadvertently violated" an NCAA recruiting rule.

In a copyright story in the York Daily Record, Penn State Athletic Director Jim Tarman said Paterno appeared at the Montclair, N.J., home of Quintus McDonald when the linebacker signed a national letter of intent Friday. Division I-A head coaches aren't supposed to do that.

David Berst, NCAA director of enforcement, said because the violation was of an "isolated, minor or inadvertent variety," the NCAA probably won't investigate.

"There is no question that I inadvertently violated the rule," Tarman quoted Paterno as saying by phone from Hawaii. Paterno said he thought the rule applied only to "national letter of intent day" -- Feb. 13, the first day recruits can sign. "Because this was nine days after, I simply did not think of a violation," Paterno said. " . . . But I'm aware, of course, that ignorance of the rules is no excuse" . . .

Arkansas' Mike Conley, who has an Olympic silver medal and five NCAA championships in the long and triple jumps, said he plans to pass up the 1985-86 track season, his final year of eligibility, to play basketball for the Razorbacks.