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Chow likely headed to UH

Source says details must be formalized

December 21, 2011
By LYNN DeBRUIN , The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow has accepted the job as the University of Hawaii's head football coach, a person with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because all the details of the move have not yet been formalized.

"I don't know what the reports are saying but there's nothing been finalized," Chow said after practice. "I haven't signed a piece of paper. I'm not trying to be coy. I'm here coaching football for the University of Utah. We have a nice game to play in and I'm real excited about that. We'll just have to wait and see."

Article Photos

Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who has been coaching in college or the NFL since 1973, has helped produce three Heisman-Trophy winning quarterbacks, and been part of three teams that won national championships
AP photo

When asked whether he plans to coach in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech on Dec. 31, Chow replied, "If Kyle (Whittingham) would have me, I would be honored to stay."

University of Hawaii officials referred all inquiries to the school's athletic office, which declined to comment.

Chow may be joined by Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake, who was asked to apply for the UH job but did not do so. More than 40 coaches did apply for the position, left vacant when Greg McMackin retired earlier this month with a year remaining on his five-year contract after the Warriors went 6-7 and missed the postseason for the second time in his four years at the helm. McMackin, who was paid $1.1 million per year, was 29-25 overall at UH, including 0-2 in bowl games, with one winning season, in 2010.

The Warriors just completed their final season in the Western Athletic Conference. They are moving to the Mountain West Conference starting next season.

Chow was born and raised in Wai-alua and graduated from Punahou School. He got his coaching start at Waialua High and Intermediate School before becoming a graduate assistant at Brigham Young in 1973.

He spent 27 years as an assistant under LaVell Edwards at BYU running its innovative spread offense, and helped the Cougars to their only national championship in 1984.

He was also coordinator under Pete Carroll at Southern California when the Trojans won national titles in 2003 and 2004. Chow left USC in 2005 and became offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans but was fired after three seasons. Rick Neuheisel brought Chow to UCLA in 2007 but he was replaced by Mike Johnson after three seasons. Chow has also been the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State.

He may be best known for helping star quarterbacks Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Ty Detmer, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. Detmer, Palmer and Leinart won Heisman Trophies under Chow's tutelage.

Chow said his future and job situation will not be a distraction for the Utes.

"I'm here and I'm coaching and it's all about (the players)," he said. "They know that. Kyle addressed it little bit prior to practice. If I am a distraction I will leave immediately. I plan on being at practice tomorrow."

He said he had "no idea" when the deal could be completed.

Chow's two-year contract at Utah pays him $257,000 per year. It also includes a $20,000 bonus if the team goes to a Bowl Championship Series game. Chow may leave the contract early by giving 30 days' notice in writing.

Whittingham said Chow was "very interested in the job" and called it a "good opportunity."

"In this profession, nothing's ever a done deal until it's a done deal. Right now he's our offensive coordinator," he said. "I plan on him coordinating the bowl game and if and when there's anything new to report I will get that conveyed."

Whittingham said he would want Chow to coach in the bowl game.

"He's done a great job for us. We're fortunate to have him here," he said. "If he leaves then I will be indebted to him for what he did for the program while he was here and if he stays that's great too."

Chow would be leaving his alma mater after one season.

"Typically you talk about a two-year commitment. (But) this was a unique opportunity and I would never hold anybody back from an opportunity to be a head coach," Whittingham said. "If you're talking about leaving to become coordinator at another school or a move that's resembling lateral (move) then that's a little difficult to swallow but anytime you have a chance to get a position that's a head job I don't believe in holding anybody back."

* The Associated Press' Jaymes Song in Honolulu contributed to this report.



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