Sue Tyler, a 17-year employee of the University of Maryland athletic department as an administrator and coach of NCAA championship teams in two sports, yesterday was named Maryland's interim athletic director.

In making the announcement, William E. Kirwan, president of the College Park campus, said Tyler "has demonstrated exceptional team-building skills and other important leadership qualities that will serve her well during this interim period."

A 14-member committee, of which Tyler is a member, has started its search for a replacement for Lew Perkins. He resigned July 9 after three years to accept a similar job at the University of Connecticut. Perkins's last day at Maryland is expected to be Aug. 2, an athletic department spokesman said. He also indicated Perkins would be involved in Maryland's appeal of NCAA sanctions Aug. 1-3 in Monterey, Calif.

Maryland's goal is to have an athletic director in place by Sept. 15, but Kirwan has indicated no definite timetable.

Tyler, 43, has served as acting associate athletic director since Kevin Weiberg resigned last year to become associate commissioner of the Big Ten Conference. Tyler had been assistant athletic director for varsity sports (non-revenue) since the fall of 1988. A source close to Kirwan had said that once he decided to start the search immediately, that meant he likely would name the interim from within the department, making Tyler the obvious candidate.

Tyler sees her interim role as being one "to keep things operational, to keep the ball rolling, to keep things functioning, to keep the ship on course."

She does not anticipate any problems being one of the few women to run a Division I-A program, even on an interim basis.

"I feel comfortable doing it," she said. "I know all the personnel, I know the system. It's a natural move for however long it takes. . . . I don't see {that being a woman} is going to be an obstacle."

Tyler's lacrosse teams won national championships in 1981 and 1986; last year's team was NCAA runner-up. In 17 seasons she compiled a 191-60-3 record. She also won the 1987 NCAA field hockey title, and her teams had a 173-59-3 record.

Her first duty, she said, will be to call a staff meeting to exchange ideas and "start building a climate for success s in the fall."

Tyler has said previously that she didn't think Maryland was ready for a woman to serve as permanent athletic director. But she said "if the president felt I should consider it, I would." But she added, "for personal consideration" she may be against it. "I love my team" she said.

As an insider, Tyler said she sees the positive outweighing the negatives at College Park.

"It's a time for optimism, a time for the positives to come out," she said. "The kids are positive, the staff is talented, the coaches are talented. . . . Those of us from the inside have known intrinsically there are more positives."