The mother of the late Hank Gathers says a Loyola Marymount booster gave her son money, it was reported yesterday.

Gathers collapsed March 4 at Gersten Pavilion and died 1 hour 40 minutes later at a nearby hospital. He was 23.

An autopsy determined the cause of death to be a heart disorder. He had been treated for an irregular heartbeat.

Lucille Gathers said in a deposition taken in connection with a wrongful death suit filed against Loyola Marymount and 13 other defendants that her son gave her $2,000 and other gifts. She said he told her everything came from Albert Gersten, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Gersten, who helped finance the Loyola arena that bears his name, denied giving Hank Gathers money.

"It's not true," Gersten said. "I didn't help Hank. I gave him meals occasionally. He would be over at the house and we would have dinner and he would eat. But that's it."

Loyola Athletic Director Brian Quinn said he had notified the West Coast Conference about the allegations, which were also included in depositions by other members of the Gathers family.

If the accusations are true, the NCAA and WCC could penalize Loyola Marymount. . . .

Tom Coughlin, who has been coaching the New York Giants' wide receivers, has been named football coach at Boston College, replacing fired Jack Bicknell.

Coughlin, 44, with the Giants for three years, was an original member of Bicknell's staff in 1980. He helped develop Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie and a passing game that took the team to the Tangerine Bowl in 1982 and the Liberty Bowl in 1983.

Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer turned down the job, then William and Mary Coach Jimmye Laycock accepted but changed his mind that night.