HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) _ Terry Don Phillips, who has guided University of Southwestern Louisiana athletics for three years, will become athletic director at the University of Southern Mississippi, effective July 1.

University President Aubrey Lucas held a news conference Tuesday to announce the selection of Phillips, who at 39 has an extensive background in athletic administration.

A Longview, Texas, native and 1970 graduate of Arkansas, Phillips will succeed the retiring Roland Dale, who will become athletic director emeritus.

''It's a very happy day,'' he said tearfully. ''I'm extremely happy to be here. Obviously, I have mixed feelings, but I am proud to be here. I know it's going to be a challenge and I can't wait to get here and get started. ... this is home and it is going to be home for a long time.''

''He was the only one considered,'' said C.L. Dews Jr., who has served on every search committee since Southern Mississippi hired Dale 12 years ago. ''We only sent on name to the president. It was unanimous, 15-0.''

Phillips had withdrawn his name from consideration last month, but was persuaded to reconsider and talked with Lucas Sunday and agreed Monday to accept the post.

During his two-year tenure Southwestern Louisiana, Phillips was credited with innovative programs that resulted in the greatest athletic strides in the Louisiana school's history.

Phillips was a three-year football letterman at Arkansas, where he helped lead the Razorbacks to a Southwest Conference co-championship in 1968 and a Sugar Bowl victory in 1969.

Phillips has been on the staffs at Missouri, Florida, Arkansas, Virginia Tech and Liberty Baptist.