FOXBORO, MASS., JAN. 6 -- Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson has accepted the job as coach of the New England Patriots and could be named to the position Monday, according to several reports today.

MacPherson would become the Patriots' fifth coach in 10 years, replacing Rod Rust, who was fired Friday after one season. The team went 1-15, tying an NFL record for most losses in a season, and lost its last 14 games. New England also experienced several serious off-the-field problems.

Late this afternoon, the Patriots scheduled a "major press conference" for 10 a.m. Monday. CBS, NBC and the Boston Globe reported today that MacPherson had talked with the club, or had already agreed to accept the position.

CBS television reported it was told by sources at Syracuse University that MacPherson had told Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel that he has accepted an offer to become coach of the Patriots.

There was no confirmation or denial from the Patriots or Syracuse regarding any of the reports. A Patriots spokesman said only that new chief executive officer Sam Jankovich was "trying to conclude this whole matter as rapidly as possible."

The Patriots were beset this season by off-field problems, including fines against three players and the team for sexually harassing a female reporter. In another incident, two players were involved in a fight outside a bar.

MacPherson, 60, has been an assistant coach with the Browns and Broncos. He had a 66-46-4 record at Syracuse, including 7-4-2 in 1990. He was named college coach of the year by several organizations in 1987 after Syracuse finished 11-0-1.

Among MacPherson's former college positions was a stint as defensive backs coach at Maryland.