NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Leroy McClendon, an assistant basketball coach and recruiter at Vanderbilt, died Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 52.

McClendon, who had been on vacation with his family in Pigeon Forge, was pronounced dead at 4 a.m. at Sevier Medical Center.

''He loved it. I really think he did,'' Vanderbilt Athletic Director Roy Kramer said of McClendon's enthusiasm for the job.

McClendon came to Vanderbilt last summer from Texas, where he had been an assistant coach since 1982. From 1979 to 1982, he was an assistant coach at Alabama.

''I've never met anyone who didn't like Leroy or who even thought they might not like him,'' said Dot Deathridge, the Vanderbilt basketball secretary.

McClendon had intended after the vacation to go on the road for six weeks in search of Vanderbilt prospects, Ms. Deathridge said.

McClendon underwent tests last fall when he complained of chests pains.

Funeral arrangments were incomplete.