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Norm Chow’s Long Road Home: A Fan’s Perspective
"So it's been kind of a long road, but it was a good journey altogether." No, new head coach of the University of Hawaii Warriors, Norm Chow, didn't say those words but he could have (it's a quote from actor Sydney Poitier).
Norman Chow was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is of Hawaiian and Chinese descent. He lived in Palolo and went to school at the famed Punahou School, which just happens to be right around the corner from the university in Manoa. But Chow didn't go to college in Hawaii.
Salt Lake City
Chow, a star football player in high school, was offered a scholarship to go to the University of Utah to play for the Utes. Back in the mid-60s, the Rainbows were an independent and didn't play big-time football. Also, Hawaii wasn't a very good team during that era. Chow played at Utah for Ray Nagel and Mike Giddings where he was a starting guard for two years, earning All-American honors.
Chow's professional football playing career would not go so well, having only a brief stay in Canada while playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He then actually did come back home for a few years to coach in high school as head coach of the Bulldogs of Waialua on the North Shore. But college football came calling.
In 1973, Chow started as a lowly graduate assistant under the longtime head coach for the BYU Cougars, LaVell Edwards. There in Provo, Utah, he slowly worked up the ladder as an offensive assistant. He was a wide receivers and running back coach for quite a few years before becoming the quarterback's coach.
Under Chow's tutelage, many quarterbacks played for BYU including Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer and Steve Sarkisian to name just some. The Cougars won the 1984 National Championship while Chow was coaching. Edwards had Chow calling the plays by the early 80s and he never stopped being the play-caller at BYU until he left in 2000 to become the North Carolina State Wolfpack's offensive coordinator. Chow spent one year with the Wolfpack, coaching future Pro Bowler Phillip Rivers.
Pete Carroll took over the USC Trojans and then hired Chow as his offensive coordinator. In five seasons at USC, they won two National Championships and he coached two Heisman Trophy quarterbacks. Having done all he could at the college level, he moved up to the NFL.
He was hired in 2005 as the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans for three less-than-stellar years before being let go. He then headed back to college in 2008 and back to Los Angeles but this time as offensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins. Those three years weren't exactly up-to-par either, so he and the school parted ways (source - ESPN). He then was hired by his alma mater Utah Utes as their offensive coordinator. Being back in Salt Lake City at that point, it seemed Chow had gone full circle.
Hawaii had "retired" their previous coach (Greg McMackin) after a 6-7 season in 2011 and amongst many who were asked for interviews, in the end, it was time for their hometown son to come home. There had been speculation that Chow might be the replacement when June Jones left shortly after the 2008 Sugar Bowl (source - Honolulu Advertiser) but they stayed within the system and Chow went to Los Angeles instead.
Now Norm Chow has certainly come full circle back to where he was born and raised. It seems such a natural fit that one has to wonder how this never happened before this time. But in any case, Chow is home and the journey has one final chapter. Now it's time to show what he has as a head coach. Aloha and Mahalo.
Source - University of Hawaii,
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of Hawaii since visiting there 40 years ago and dozens of times since. Go 'Bows!
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