HONOLULU — Norm Chow is coming home.
Hawaii announced Wednesday that Chow, 65, has agreed to a five-year deal to become its new head football coach. The school has scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon for the formal announcement and to introduce Chow, who is already widely known in the islands.
“I am extremely honored to receive the privilege of leading the University of Hawaii football program; it is very humbling,” Chow said in a statement. “This is a program with great history, and I feel excited and energized about creating a program that will make all of the people of Hawaii feel pride for the university and our state. I am looking forward to coming home, to family and friends, and I am going to do my best to contribute to the rich history of Hawaii and its progress.”
Chow is in his first season as offensive coordinator at Utah Utes. He previously served as offensive coordinator at UCLA Bruins, for the Tennessee Titans, at USC, North Carolina State Wolfpack and BYU, helping to develop multiple Heisman Trophy winners.
He will remain with the Utes as they face Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
“Obviously Norm is one of the best offensive minds in the country and we are thrilled that he’s able to come home to lead our football program,” Hawaii athletic director Jim Donovan said. “This is special not only for the university but for him. His wide-open offense and name recognition will only help us in recruiting the top talent to our university and football program.”
Chow is from Honolulu and graduated from Punahou School. He got his coaching start at Waialua High and Intermediate School before becoming a graduate assistant at BYU in 1973. He spent 27 years as an assistant under LaVell Edwards at BYU running its innovative spread offense. He helped the Cougars to their only national championship in 1984.
He was also coordinator under Pete Carroll at USC when the Trojans won national titles in 2003 and 2004. He left USC in 2005 and became offensive coordinator for 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.
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Chow 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 win Heisman Trophies under his tutelage.
He was selected from more than 40 coaches who applied for the Hawaii post, which was left vacant when Greg McMackin left.
McMackin recently retired with a year remaining on his five-year contract after the Warriors went a disappointing 6-7 and missed the postseason for the second time in his four years at the helm.
Hawaii officials did not say how much Chow will earn. Chow’s two-year contract at Utah pays him $275,000 a year. It also includes a $20,000 bonus if the team goes to a BCS bowl game.
Chow will make his coaching debut for Hawaii when the Warriors open the 2012 season at USC on Sept. 1. Hawaii faces BYU the same month in Provo, Utah.
The Warriors just completed their final season in the Western Athletic Conference. They are moving to the Mountain West Conference starting next season.
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