Cheryl Miller, USC's career scoring and rebounding leader, has been offered the coaching job of the Trojans' women's basketball team, sources familiar with the hiring process told The Times.
Negotiations with Miller, who could not be reached Wednesday night, are continuing, and the parties could fail to reach an agreement. USC is said to have backup candidates if Miller refuses the offer.
An announcement on the replacement is expected within the next few days despite an appeal filed Wednesday by attorneys representing last season's coach, Marianne Stanley, who was denied reinstatement by a federal judge while her $8-million sex discrimination suit against USC and Athletic Director Mike Garrett is resolved.
Stanley's attorneys also requested action that would effectively block USC officials from replacing Stanley until the U.S. District Court of Appeals considers the motion.
Robert L. Bell, a Washington-based trial lawyer, said he did not know how long it would take the courts to decide, but he said USC could not hire a coach until a decision was reached.
Bob Lane, USC's acting general counsel, was unavailable for comment.
Stanley filed a suit last month after USC did not rehire her because of a contract dispute.
"It never has been her intention to pick a fight with the university she loves and works for," Bell said.
Stanley, who led the Trojans to a second-place finish in the Pacific 10 Conference last season, contends school officials reneged on an agreement to give her a multiyear contract.
Stanley was offered a three-year, $288,000 package last April. She rejected it saying she wanted to be paid similarly to that of men's Coach George Raveling.
After six weeks of negotiations, the parties failed to reach an agreement, and Garrett offered Stanley a "take it or leave it" one-year deal worth $96,000. When she refused, Stanley's contract expired June 30, and Garrett began searching for a replacement.
Because of the suit, that search was temporarily stalled until last week when Judge John G. Davies in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles refused to grant Stanley a preliminary injunction that would have returned the coach to her position at $96,000.
Miller, who was an assistant at USC from 1987-1991, led the Trojans to their only two national championships in 1983 and 1984. She was a three-time Naismith Award winner. She also was a star on the 1984 U.S. Olympic women's team, which won the gold medal.