Former Kansas City Chiefs coach John Mackovic is among the finalists for the Southern Methodist football coaching job, the Dallas Times Herald reported yesterday.

Mackovic and SMU Athletic Director Doug Single may meet early next month, according to a source quoted by the newspaper.

Mackovic, also a former Dallas Cowboys assistant, would neither confirm nor deny that he is a leading candidate for the job. At his home in Greensboro, N.C., he said he has talked to Single and is interested in coaching the Mustangs.

SMU was banned from playing football this season because of NCAA violations, and canceled its 1988 season.

Mackovic was 30-34 in four years with Kansas City. Following last season, in which he led the Chiefs to the playoffs for the first time since 1971, he was fired. He has said he is ready to return to head coaching at the college or professional level.

Mackovic was offered the SMU job in 1982, but turned it down. The job went to Bobby Collins, who resigned along with athletic director Bob Hitch last December amid the school's pay-for-play football scandal . . .

Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler has been moved from an Ann Arbor, Mich., hospital's intensive care unit and is listed in good condition as he continues his recovery from heart bypass surgery.

Spokesman Bill Brauker of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, said the 58-year-old coach's condition had been listed as fair before being upgraded. Schembechler was moved to an intermediate care unit, a step between intensive care and a normal hospital room.

Schembechler underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery Tuesday.

Brauker said doctors planned to release Schembechler from the hospital Wednesday or Thursday, but they ruled out any chance that he would be allowed to travel to Tampa, Fla., for the Jan. 2 Hall of Fame Bowl game matching Michigan against Alabama.