Lew Perkins, the new athletic director at the University of Maryland, asked assistant athletic director Lefty Driesell yesterday to make it clear in future public appearances that he is representing himself, not the school.

Perkins met with Driesell, former Maryland basketball coach, yesterday to talk about remarks Driesell made 10 days ago in Rhode Island regarding cocaine abuse, and the controversy that followed his remarks.

"Lew said that what I said at the Rhode Island sports convention was strictly on me," Driesell said. "And I agree with him. I was not representing the University of Maryland. He said that I should make it clear during speaking engagements, and I agreed with him. I probably should have done that at Rhode Island."

Perkins said, "I talked with Lefty and we have a clear understanding. We're not trying to discourage him from expressing his views. We would just like people to know that Lefty is representing himself in those situations."

Yesterday's brief meeting with Perkins was the latest in a series of reactions to remarks made by Driesell, who told a group of high school and college sports administrators that cocaine can be "a performance-enhancing" drug. Driesell has been criticized in some quarters on the basis that merely by making the statement Driesell could be telling athletes they stand to improve their performances by using cocaine.

Driesell, however, felt the remarks were taken out of the full context of a 90-minute antidrug talk. "I would never advocate the use of cocaine, or any other drug, for that matter," he said yesterday. "I'm violently opposed to any substance harmful to the body. I feel that some people have been very unfair to act as if I would condone the use of drugs to enhance performance, when that is just the opposite of what I believe.

"I said that cocaine can enhance performance, but I also said that what cocaine can do to a person is tragic. Athletes shouldn't use it; nobody should. That was a 90-minute thing up there, and I was trying to do something positive in that convention of high school coaches, college coaches, high school athletic directors and college athletic directors.

"I probably had no business being there, but I guess they wanted to invite me because I was Len Bias' coach. I went there to talk about what all of us could try to do to prevent drug use. That's why I was there.

"I was saying that I'm in favor of drug testing because athletics should be man vs. man, not man vs. drugs. I resent people saying the things they've said, when John Lucas was involved with it and Lenny died from it. That hurt me. I'd have to be nuts not to be violently against cocaine and any other harmful substance."

Perkins said, "I talked to Lefty and he really felt bad about all of this {the controversy}. His intentions were a lot different than many people have said they were."