Lew Perkins, the University of Maryland's athletic director for three tumultuous years, is expected to be offered a similar job at the University of Connecticut, sources said last night.
The sources said Perkins would accept the job and could be named as early as Monday. The two other finalists, Jack Kvancz of George Mason and Kevin White of Maine, withdrew their names from consideration yesterday.
Perkins, who previously served as athletic director at Wichita State and the University of South Carolina at Aiken, reportedly was in Connecticut last night. Perkins and Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun have been friends for years.
Perkins, who has two years remaining on his Maryland contract, is expected to be offered at least a four-year deal at Connecticut and a salary package worth at least $125,000 a year, a source said.
Perkins, Maryland President William E. Kirwan and Connecticut interim president Harry Hartley, who conducted the search, were unavailable for comment.
The Hartford Courant reported in today's editions that Perkins will be named to the job as early as Monday.
In May, Todd Turner, the previous UConn athletic director, accepted a similar post at North Carolina State.
From the day Perkins arrived at Maryland in 1987, a year after the cocaine-induced death of basketball star Len Bias and subsequent revelations of academic problems of the team, he has been beset by trouble.
On that first day, Perkins walked into a controversy in which basketball coach Bob Wade was attempting to run off seldom-used center Phil Nevin, who eventually was allowed to keep his scholarship but transferred from Maryland a year later.
From there, the athletic department's problems escalated. The NCAA began an investigation of Wade's program in February 1989 after a published report said Wade and his staff provided improper transportation for Rudy Archer.
Archer, a guard on the 1987-88 team that reached the second round of the NCAA tournament, had flunked out of school, and the NCAA considered him a recruitable athlete.
The NCAA investigation uncovered other irregularities in Wade's program, and the school was hit last March with its first major penalties -- a three-year probation that includes missing the next two NCAA tournaments and a ban on live television next season.
Supporters of Wade, who resigned under pressure in May 1989, said Perkins did not support him adequately and sought Perkins's dismissal. The state Attorney General's office investigated nine specific charges against Perkins and cleared him.
In addition, poor performances by the football and basketball teams reduced gate receipts and the athletic department is deeply in debt and facing a $2.7 million shortfall this fiscal year because of the NCAA sanctions.
In the last six months, the NCAA has been investigating allegations that current basketball coach Gary Williams and members of his staff conducted practices before the official Oct. 15 starting date last season.
And this spring, in response to the deficit, sources said Perkins proposed suspending four nonrevenue sports. That plan was rejected and Perkins devised a four-tier system in which all 23 varsity sports would be maintained but eight of them would not receive scholarships.