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Utah football: Utes make Chow hiring official

Published January 23, 2011 11:30 pm

College football • Experienced OC will aid Utes in transition to Pac-12, Whittingham says.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Talk about efficiency.

The Utah Utes picked up two advantages with one hire Saturday, not only adding a seasoned offensive coordinator to their staff but one who has plenty of background information on Utah's future opponents in the Pac-12.

The Utes made a long-standing rumor an official move, adding former UCLA coordinator Norm Chow to their staff.

"Adding Norm Chow to our offensive staff was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "Norm is widely considered one of the top offensive coordinators in the country and his experience both at USC and UCLA will aid us in our transition into the Pac-12 conference. I have a longstanding relationship with Norm and have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he has accomplished over the course of his career. His hiring will obviously mean some restructuring within our offensive staff and those details will be announced when they are finalized."

Chow, UCLA's coordinator for the last three years, was replaced by Mike Johnson, who was the coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers for the last two seasons.

Chow's representatives are working on a buyout for his two-year contract worth $1 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Terms of his contract and salary with the Utes are unknown, as is the fate of current Utah co-coordinators Dave Schramm and Aaron Roderick.

Chow will be the fourth coach to serve as Utah's offensive coordinator under Whittingham, who just completed his sixth year as the Utes' head coach.

Andy Ludwig held the position before leaving for Kansas State/Cal following the 2008 season. Schramm was the coordinator in 2009 and Roderick started calling the plays mid-year in 2009 and was promoted to co-coordinator for the 2010 season.

Utah's offense started the year strong, averaging 45 points in the first eight games, but averaged just 11 points in the final five games.

The 64-year-old Chow, one of the most celebrated coordinators in college football, was a two-year starter for the Utes as a guard (1965-67) and earned All-WAC first-team and All-America honorable mention honors in 1967.

"I am awfully excited to be going back to my alma mater," Chow said. "The University of Utah is where I started my career. I met my wife there. How many people get to go back to their alma mater? This is an exciting day for me."

Chow is best known for his influence at BYU where he spent 27 years holding various positions including assistant coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

During his time with the Cougars, BYU went 244-91-3 and played in 22 bowl games. BYU's offense was ranked in the Top 10 in total offense in 12 of his 18 years as offensive coordinator.

After coaching stints at USC and with the Tennessee Titans, Chow spent the last three years at UCLA but struggled to make the Bruins' offense a success.

In 2010, the Bruins went just 4-8 and averaged just 20.2 points a game and ranked 116th in passing yards (141.1) and 32nd in rushing yards (175.6).

UCLA ranked No. 94 in 2009 averaging 22 points and No. 110th in 2008 averaging just 17.8 points.

Moreover, Chow clashed with UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel over philosophical differences as Neuheisel preferred to run the "pistol," offense in which the quarterback lines up four yards behind the center while Chow traditionally has preferred his quarterbacks to be under center.

Neuheisel described Chow as a "fine man," in a release Saturday.

"I have enjoyed working with him," he said. "He will do a great job at Utah."

lwodraska@sltrib.com

Norm Chow coaching experience

2008-2010 • UCLA offensive coordinator

2005-2007 • Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator

2001-2004 • USC Offensive coordinator

2000 • North Carolina State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

1990-99 • BYU assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

1982-89 • BYU co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

1975-81 • BYU receivers coach/recruiting coordinator

1973-74 • BYU graduate assistant