Offensive guru Norm Chow is going to be Hawaii’s next football coach. That is, just as soon as he’s done getting the Utah Utes, in his role as offensive coordinator, ready for the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech.
Chow was an assistant to LaVell Edwards for 27 years at BYU before moving on to offensive coordinator positions at NC State, USC, the Tennessee Titans, UCLA, and Utah.
Utah is actually his college alma mater, though he spent the bulk of his career at rival BYU. Not sure how that worked for the fan base, but since the guy’s something of a genius, I’m sure most people didn’t care.
That said, I’m not all-in on this hire.
Chow does fit the pattern for Hawaii in terms of the kind of coach they want. June Jones is another offensive guru, and he achieved legendary status at the university by getting them to a BCS bowl game even though they were destroyed by Georgia. Jones basically saved that program and his successor, Greg McMackin, just couldn’t keep the program at that level.
Ironically, Chow is only a year younger than McMackin who retired after a 6-7 season for the Warriors. Jones was in his late 40’s when he took the Hawaii job. And most people can agree that recruiting is a young man’s game. So while I’m sure no one can question Chow’s commitment to the university in his home state, the obvious question is: how much longer is the guy going to coach anyway?
Maybe Chow can do a better job of leaving a legacy behind than Jones did after he resigned in 2008 because of what was termed “frustration with how the athletic department was run.”
The rumors were that Jones was not allowed to leave the island on recruiting trips and the athletic department budget was constantly tight, making it extremely difficult for the Warriors to compete consistently on the national stage. It’s also impossible to tell whether any of those issues that drove Jones out of the position have been resolved yet since McMackin’s tenure brought Hawaii back to mediocrity.
Chow does have connections on the island (obviously since it’s his home state) at places like football-factory Punahou High School, his high school alma mater. Yet he’ll have to get into California and the west coach Juco scene if he’s going to have any kind of success at all.
Hawaii’s best quarterback in history, Colt Brennan, was a transfer from Texas, so Jones got a bit lucky there. Timmy Chang, however, was a Hawaii native and managed to throw for a then NCAA record amount of yards for Jones.
It was also rumored that Chow was not the most enthusiastic recruiter during his time at USC, so Hawaii is taking a bit of a chance on him. The program is already used to having a guy with a great offensive system running the team, but they need some one who is going to get off-island recruits to come to Honolulu and get the best guys from the island to stay home.
Time will tell if this old dog can learn a new trick or two.