Utah Utes football: Chow named Utes' offensive coordinator

Published: Thursday, Oct. 8 2015 2:51 p.m. MDT

Former BYU and UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow is headed to Utah. (Ric Francis, Associated Press) Former BYU and UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow is headed to Utah. (Ric Francis, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — It's official. Norm Chow is now the offensive coordinator at University of Utah.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham made the announcement Saturday afternoon.

"Adding Norm Chow to our offensive staff was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up," Whittingham said in a released statement. "Norm is widely considered one of the top offensive coordinators in the country and his experience at both 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," Whittingham added. "His hiring will obviously mean some restructuring within our offensive staff and those details will be announced when they are finalized."

Norm Chow (Associated Press) Norm Chow (Associated Press)

Aaron Roderick and Dave Schramm served as co-offensive coordinators last season.

Chow, a longtime BYU assistant who spent the past three seasons directing the offense at UCLA, played his college football at Utah (1965-67) and has earned two degrees from the school.

"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."

Things began to fall into place earlier in the day when UCLA announced that former San Francisco 49ers assistant Mike Johnson would become the Bruins' new offensive coordinator and that head coach Rick Neuheisel would oversee the quarterbacks — filling both coaching positions Chow had.

Norm Chow (Associated Press) Norm Chow (Associated Press)

"During my assessment of our program, I felt it was necessary for me to be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the offense," Neuheisel said in announcing the changes. "I decided that going forward, I will coach the quarterbacks and will be more hands-on in the area of play calling with a new coordinator."

Like Whittingham, Neuheisel expressed excitement about his new hire.

"Mike is a great addition to our staff. He has a background with a multitude of offensive schemes, has coached several positions and has experience in our conference as well as in the National Football League," Neuheisel said. "Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and adds versatility to our offense and I can't wait to get in the film room and start planning for 2011 and the Pac-12."

Utah and UCLA will compete in the same division next season and are scheduled to meet Nov. 12 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Norm Chow (Associated Press) Norm Chow (Associated Press)

Speculation surrounding Chow's return to Utah had swirled around for more than a week. A negotiated buyout of a two-year, $1 million contract extension he signed, however, apparently slowed the process.

No details have been released.

Chow, who earned first-team All-WAC honors as an offensive lineman at Utah in 1967, is a three-time National Assistant Coach of the Year. The 64-year-old has also been the offensive coordinator for three national championship teams (BYU in 1984 and USC in 2003 and 2004) and worked with a trio of Heisman Trophy winners (Ty Detmer, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart).

After graduating from Utah, Chow was the head coach at Waialua High School in Hawaii from 1970-72, and a 27-year career at BYU followed. During his tenure in Provo, the Cougars went 244-91-3, appeared in 22 bowl games and had 21 offensive players receive All-America recognition. BYU's offense ranked in the top 10 nationally 12 times in his 18 seasons as coordinator.

Norm Chow talks to BYU quarterback  Robbie Bosco in this 1984 photo.  (Don Grayston, Deseret News Archives) Norm Chow talks to BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco in this 1984 photo. (Don Grayston, Deseret News Archives)

Chow spent the 2000 season at North Carolina State before moving on to USC (2001-04). A stint with the NFL's Tennessee Titans (2005-07) followed before he joined the UCLA staff in 2008.

e-mail: dirk@desnews.com

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