Utah Utes football: Norm Chow focused on game, not return to Provo

Published: Friday, Sept. 16 2011 9:58 a.m. MDT

Coach Norm Chow talks with a reporter prior to the Utes' season-opener at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — As far as Norm Chow is concerned, this week's football game might as well be in Pocatello or Pawtucket.

The former Cougar coach isn't about to rise or shout about playing in Utah County again.

The new Utah offensive coordinator's roots were planted in Provo for nearly three decades, but BYU's home clearly is no longer his.

Just ask him.

"There's nothing to it, "Chow said while downplaying questions about the Cougs, whom he coached from 1973-99. "It's gone. It's past."

Since leaving BYU last millennium — when it became apparent he wouldn't be LaVell Edwards' successor — Chow has hopped all over the football coaching map as an offensive coordinator.

He spent the year 2000 at North Carolina State — where he helped groom San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. He then made a big splash, joining Pete Carroll at USC and tutoring the likes of Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart from 2001-04.

Chow took an NFL detour to the Tennessee Titans from 2005-07 before returning to SoCal for his last gig — a three-year stint at UCLA (2008-10).

Now at Utah assisting head coach Kyle Whittingham, Chow has had five different teams and a dozen years to allow feelings about BYU — bitter and/or sweet — to mellow.

"It's been such a long time. I'm not kidding ya. There's so much water under the bridge. I'm over it," Chow said. "People have asked me that (about BYU), and I don't mean to be rude, but I'm of a different era. I don't know those guys down there any more. I was a Rondo Fehlberg, Glen Tuckett kind of guy."

No offense to those former BYU athletic directors or Tom Holmoe, but Chow is now a Chris Hill kind of guy.

That development has brought his collegiate loyalties full circle, right back to where they started when he played on The Hill from 1965-67.

Yep, he's a Utah Man. Again.

"I'm glad to be here," said Chow, who earned All-WAC honors as a senior at Utah. "I met my wife here. I went to school here. I have my two degrees from here."

Continuing to reminisce about Utah for a moment, Chow fondly recalled living in his in-law's basement while he attended graduate school at the U.

"We couldn't afford to rent an apartment," he said, grinning.

Chow, whose contract no longer prevents rent payments, is also fond of Salt Lake City because it's where he was married and where his four children were born.

"So, yeah," he added, "there are a lot of good memories."

There is probably a plethora of good memories from his 27 seasons at BYU as well. He just doesn't want to talk about them — or his time in Provo or his feelings about his school's rival.

"It's been a long time," Chow said. "I'm in another era. It's just another game we've got to play."

With his focus elsewhere, Chow wasn't too chatty about the Cougars' new offensive coordinator who played under him for a couple of seasons in the late 1990s, either. He definitely doesn't regard Brandon Doman, a sophomore in Chow's final season at BYU, as a protege.

"I don't know much about Brandon. I never had Brandon Doman," Chow said. "He was a young guy when I was there. … I don't know the guy."

Next question?

This will be Chow's third return trip to LaVell Edwards Stadium as a visitor.

His USC Trojans throttled BYU 42-10 in 2004, during Gary Crowton's final season at the helm of the Cougars.

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