Gene Corrigan, athletic director the last 6 1/2 years at the University of Notre Dame, is supposed to tell Atlantic Coast Conference officials by the end of this week whether he is interested in becoming ACC commissioner, replacing the late Bob James, sources said yesterday.

Sources indicated Corrigan has not been offered the job officially, but likely would be the No. 1 choice if he is interested. "You can't offer something if he hasn't decided to be an applicant," said one ACC source.

Corrigan, a 1957 Duke graduate, is a former director of the ACC service bureau and served as athletic director at the University of Virginia before going to Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame job is one of the most visible in the country, but Corrigan is giving serious consideration to the ACC commissionership because most of his family lives on the East Coast, sources in South Bend said. He has seven children, six of whom have finished school.

If Corrigan, 59, decides he is interested in the ACC job, he could be named within the week, sources said. Otherwise, the selection process may take longer. The applications deadline was Monday, but the selection committee is working from a "a very short list in terms of whom this group would be interested in," a conference source said.

Corrigan, who is attending his last meeting of the NCAA men's Division I basketball committee in Hot Springs, Va., was unavailable for comment.

Alan Williams, Virginia's faculty representative and chairman of the search committee, declined comment on any specific candidates. "If you were to pick a list of people, it would probably coincide with any list we've developed," he said.

Jim Delany, commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference and frequently mentioned as a top contender if Corrigan decides to stay at Notre Dame, said from the basketball committee meeting that no ACC officials have talked to him about the vacancy. He is a former North Carolina basketball player and an NCAA investigator.

One ACC source said James' strength as commissioner was his ability to keep the members working in harmony. "To me," said one ACC athletic director, "it's more important to hire somebody who can step in and keep intact that closeness of the conference than somebody who can negotiate a television contract."