Barry Switzer will resign as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys Friday when he meets with team owner Jerry Jones, according to several NFL sources, and a news conference to announce the decision could be held later in the day.

Jones has indicated to several associates that he has settled on Switzer's replacement, but Jones has not yet completed negotiations.

Several sources have put former San Francisco 49ers coach George Seifert at the top of Jones's list, but Seifert said earlier this week that he has not spoken to Jones or any other NFL owner about a coaching job.

Since Seifert is under contract to the 49ers until after the Super Bowl, a team would have to obtain permission to speak with him. 49ers President Carmen Policy said today that no team has sought permission to speak with Seifert. The Seattle Seahawks also are believed to be interested in Seifert, if Coach Dennis Erickson is fired.

Switzer's resignation comes as no surprise after a season when the Cowboys went 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1990 season. Several players, most notably quarterback Troy Aikman, complained about the team's lack of discipline and poor practice habits.

Jones was in New York today to help the NFL negotiate a new television contract. He was scheduled to return to Dallas Friday for the meeting with Switzer, according to a source.

Switzer's hands-off coaching style was a shock to many Cowboys, who'd become accustomed to Jimmy Johnson's intensity. Jones hired Johnson shortly after buying the team and firing Tom Landry in 1989.

Johnson rebuilt the Cowboys with shrewd trades and draft choices. After the Cowboys won their second straight Super Bowl after the '93 season, Johnson resigned in the spring of 1994 after his uneasy relationship with Jones boiled over at the NFL meetings in Orlando.

Jones boasted that any of 500 coaches could have accomplished what Johnson did, and he attempted to prove it by luring Switzer out of retirement. Switzer took over the Cowboys despite having been out of coaching since resigning as coach of the University of Oklahoma after the 1988 season.

Switzer compiled a 45-26 record in four seasons and was coach when the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXX in January 1996 in Phoenix.

In four seasons with Dallas, Switzer's teams won three NFC East titles, reached two NFC title games and captured a Super Bowl win.

The Cowboys won the NFC East in each of Switzer's first three seasons, but this season they were one of the NFL's most disappointing teams. After the season, Switzer even suggested that Jones ought to fire his coaching staff and said he would happily step aside if Jones wanted to make a change.

Until taking over the Cowboys, Switzer's background had been exclusively in college football. He played at the University of Arkansas from 1955 until 1959. He joined the Razorbacks as an assistant in 1962 before moving to Oklahoma in 1966.

He was named Oklahoma's coach in 1973 and compiled a career record of 157-29-4. His .837 winning percentage at Oklahoma is the fourth-highest mark in college history, behind only Notre Dame's Knute Rockne (.881) and Frank Leahy (.864) and Carlisle's George Woodruff (.846).

He guided the Sooners to 28 consecutive victories from 1973 to '75 and went 37 straight games without a defeat. Switzer's Oklahoma teams won three national championships (1974, 1975 and 1985) and 12 Big Eight Conference championships.

However, his tenure was marked by scandal several times. He eventually resigned after several problems developed involving his players.

True to his hands-off style, Switzer responded to the trouble by saying: "I tell parents that if they send me a good kid, I'll send a good kid home. If they send me a bad kid, I'll send a bad kid home." CAPTION: Last August, Barry Switzer had to explain his gun possession arrest.