Dick Tamburo resigned as Arizona State's athletic director late yesterday, a few hours after the Sun Devils' baseball coach, Jim Brock, who had considered quitting amid the stir over players' use of the drug Nardil, decided to stay.

James Gough, the psychiatrist involved, meanwhile defended the use of Nardil in relieving chronic stress disorders.

Addressing a news conference, Gough said he had prescribed it to two baseball players and discussed it with six additional athletes, and, prior to joining the team as a consultant, he prescribed it for Brock. Charges of a drug "problem" at ASU, Gough said, were a "slanderous lie."

University President J. Russell Nelson lauded Tamburo for his "devotion" to ASU athletics in announcing Tamburo's "administrative leave" and interim succession by his deputy, Frank Sackton.

Brock, for his part, said he'll have to be fired before he leaves his team, which has an unaccustomed losing record, 16-23 at last count. And if he should be fired, "I will go out screaming and yelling." . . .

Lou Carnesecca of St. John's is the United States Basketball Writers Association choice as college coach of the year, for the second time in three years . . . J.D. Barnett, basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth, says never mind the persistent rumors, "I'm not leaving. I'll be here (at VCU in Richmond) next year."