OKLAHOMA CITY, OCT. 24 -- Harvey Schiller, runner-up in the recent search for a director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, was unanimously chosen executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee today.

Schiller's selection ends a hurried quest for a replacement to Gen. George Miller, who resigned suddenly in August at the end of the Pan American Games, leaving the Olympic committee leaderless only months before the Calgary Winter Games.

Schiller, 48, a decorated combat pilot, retired Air Force colonel and chemistry professor, will leave the job he took 14 months ago as commissioner of the Southeastern Conference to take the $150,000-a-year post.

Sources in the Olympic movement said one of his first jobs will be to smooth feathers ruffled during Miller's 2 1/2-year tenure. Miller left amid reports he had upset members of individual sports' national governing bodies by his authoritarianism.

Schiller, a director of the U.S. amateur boxing federation for the last five years and a longtime Olympic volunteer, has experience at the committee level that should help him, sources said.

USOC President Robert Helmick said, "He's been on the other side and he knows how paid staff decisions affect the committees."

Helmick added, "We're very fortunate to have someone of Harvey Schiller's talents and reputation available to step in immediately." Helmick said he expects Schiller, whose shortened term expires in February 1989, to be re-elected to a full, four-year term at that time.

The selection today was by voice vote of the 85 members of the USOC Executive Board, gathered here for their regular quarterly meeting. There was no discussion and no dissent.

Was he surprised at how smoothly it went?

"Not surprised," said the tall, gray-haired Schiller. "Enthused."

Schiller left the Air Force Academy, where he was chairman of the chemistry department and faculty representative to the athletic department, in September 1986 to take over as head of the SEC.

During his year there, he helped negotiate lucrative television contracts and postseason bowl contracts, experience he said will be helpful in his Olympic post.

"In 1956," Schiller said, "our {U.S.} Olympic budget was $2.3 million. Now, it's well over $100 million. That's well beyond inflation, and it's going to continue to increase."

As a result, he said, marketing and promotion to raise money will become increasingly crucial to the success of U.S. teams.

Schiller said he had been a candidate for the NCAA job, which went to former Virginia athletic director Richard Schultz last spring, reluctantly, because the job came open right after he was appointed to the SEC post.

He said he didn't think he was leaving the SEC in the lurch now; he will stay on there through the football bowl games. "When I took the job, I expressed an interest in the Olympic movement," Schiller said, "and that was well accepted."

Schiller's appointment was the highlight of an otherwise routine business meeting of the Olympic organizers.

There was some passing concern over Friday's announcement by the North Korean Olympic committee that it was cutting off talks with South Korea on cohosting the Summer Games until after South Korean elections in December.

North Korean Olympic chairman Kim Yu Sun said that as long as the current "dictatorial regime exists in South Korea, the prospect of the 24th Olympic Games looks gloomy and the cohosting can never be realized."

North Korea is under consideration as a site for four or five Olympic events. But sources here said the likelihood that any events actually will be held there is remote.

"The North Koreans from the beginning never intended seriously to host anything," said one delegate with close ties to the U.S. government. "They just wanted to organize a huge boycott," by communist bloc nations, he said.

But the delegate, who asked to remain anonymous, said the likelihood of North Korea organizing a successful boycott is slim. "The Soviets are stuck," he said. "They know you can't expect to boycott two Olympics in a row and still be invited to Barcelona" in 1992.

He said the International Olympic Committee's response to the continuing pressures of North Korea is to simply let things ride. "The last thing anyone wants," he said, "is a confrontation. That's the only thing that would force the Soviets' hand."