SOURCES familiar with the situation have indicated that former Penn football coach Al Bagnoli could soon take the same position at Columbia, only 3 months after he retired following a 23-year run that produced a record nine outright Ivy League championships.

Those people said Bagnoli is scheduled to meet with new Columbia athletic director Peter Pilling and university president Lee Bollinger this week. If an agreement can be worked out, Bagnoli would become the Lions' new coach next week.

Columbia lost its last 21 games, and has not had a winning season since 1996.

Pilling was a senior associate AD at Villanova in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Bollinger charged him with turning the football program into an Ivy contender.

Pete Mangurian resigned from Columbia in December after players alleged that he was verbally abusive and tried to discount the seriousness of concussions.

Sources said Bagnoli, who met with Pilling late last week for several hours, would receive a salary that would put him at "a very high level" if not "the top" in the league. One person said he is already putting together a staff and added that, at this point, would be "surprised" if it didn't happen.

Attempts to reach Bagnoli last night were unsuccessful. He's been working in Penn's athletic department under new AD M. Grace Calhoun, but sources said he wasn't happy with his duties.

The Quakers went 2-8 last season. Longtime assistant Ray Priore succeeded Bagoli.