Chow was born in Honolulu in 1946. He attended the University of Utah where he was a 2-year starter and a 3-year letterman offensive guard for the Utes. In his senior season, Chow was named to the All-WAC first team and gained All-American honorable mention honors. He then played briefly in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, before an injury ended his professional athletic career.
Continuing his education, he received a doctorate in education, Ed.D., from BYU in 1978. He was selected to Utah's All-Century Team.
Chow began his coaching career as the head coach at Waialua (Hi.) High, where he led for three seasons (1970-72) before leaving for BYU.
BYU wasn't just a place for Chow to get a degree, it was where he spent 27 years (1973-99) in various coaching positions. At various times, he was the Cougars' assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and graduate assistant (1973 and 1974). While at BYU, the Cougars posted a 244-91-3 record, appeared in 22 bowls and saw 21 offensive players earn All-America honors. In 12 of his 18 years as offensive coordinator at BYU, Chow led the offense to a place in the NCAA's top 10 in total offense.
Chow spent the 2000 season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Carolina State. The Wolfpack passing offense was ranked 15th nationally (292.6). His quarterback, Philip Rivers, was a Freshman All-American who completed 53.7% (237 of 441) of his passes for 3,054 yards with 25 touchdowns and was 12th nationally in total offense (269.9).
Chow subsequently joined the NFL's Tennessee Titans under head coach Jeff Fisher, a USC graduate.
Chow has groomed three Heisman Trophy winners (Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart), six first round picks (Palmer, Leinart, Philip Rivers, Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson) and one Pro Football Hall of Fame member (Young). Additionally, Chow has been associated with some of the best offensive minds in the college and pro ranks. Many of the NFL's most noted NFL minds have coached alongside Chow, including Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, Brian Billick, Ted Tollner, Mike Sheppard and Doug Scovil.
I'm pretty sure Norm Chow could walk into the house of any blue chip quarterback, throw down his resume and that list of quarterbacks he's mentored and basically just ask if the kid wants to sign now or in a few minutes? Sure he's spent most of his career in the Southwest and West Coast but a reputation like his travels pretty far. The national championship ring on his finger doesn't hurt either.
One question...why isn't this guy a head coach already? With his pedigree and his records there's no reason this guy shouldn't have gotten a shot somewhere by now...and that's cause for concern.
Chow was making $1M as the OC at USC, so he's probably not far off from that right now. Figure he's probably want at least 1.5-2.0M to take the job, especially in the Northeast (will get to that in a sec)
Would He Take It?
The extent of Chow's interest in a head coaching job is well known. In addition to Stanford, Chow has been officially interviewed for the head coaching jobs with the Arizona Cardinals, North Carolina State, Kentucky and Hawaii.
The guy says he's happy with his place in Tennessee but you don't get all the experience and accolades Chow has and not stick your toe in the deep end once just to see if you can swim on your own. Chow's family lives in LA most of the time so he's probably prefer something closer to them, like say Utah or (dare I say it) UCLA. But hey, if we're offering, I'm sure he's listening.
I guess the big question is, were Daryl Gross and Norm Chow on good terms while at USC together? If so, I can't see why he wouldn't at least be interviewed. But Chow seems like the kind of guy who might hold a grudge, so if Gross was prickly, as we've learned he can be, forget it.
He's got a couple things going for him (offensive whiz, recruiting power, a national title in his pocket) but he's got one major thing going against him (aging lifetime coordinator who never had a head coaching gig before). That scares the crap out of Orange Nation right now (see Greg Robinson). We don't have time to sift through another three-year learning curve. If we were to hire this guy, we better be sure he can handle it.
I'm not here tomorrow and Monday so we'll continue on Tuesday with...Kevin Rogers