Doug Robinson: Norm Chow didn't learn from LaVell Edwards' example

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  • Observer157 90210, CA
    Aug. 26, 2014 5:53 a.m.

    There are a LOT of good ole boys across the country that got immediate head coaching jobs with 5% of the success Norm Chow had. It's not unlike the societal glass ceiling Asian Americans have in corporate America. Held down by negative stereotypes about being leaders. But many Asian Americans DO succeed as leaders, unfortunately many do it starting their own companies because they receive so little faith among hiring directors in America.

  • PAC man Anaheim, CA
    April 11, 2014 12:30 a.m.


    Crowton was 26-23 at BYU with a 12-2, Top 25 season and a conference championship. BYU played the 11th toughest schedule his final season and finished with a 5-6 record, BETTER than Kyle did in 2013.

    Chow is 4-20 at Hawaii.

    Crowton's tenure at BYU dwarf's Chow's tenure at Hawaii. It's not even close.

    Based on those numbers, yes, it would have been a huge mistake for BYU to hire Chow as their head coach.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    April 10, 2014 11:07 p.m.

    "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often interred with their bones."

  • yodak Dallas, TX
    April 10, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    Just curious - how did Gary Crowton work out for BYU? Still think it was a mistake to hire him instead of Chow?

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    April 10, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    Let's be fair, Mr. Robinson. Lee Benson might have been your mentor, but I don't think many would say you learned a lot from him either. You didn't learn much from John Mooney, or Joe Baird. We all have a tough time truly learning from the ones who came before us, no matter how much we admire them. Me too. And certainly, you too.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    April 9, 2014 8:02 p.m.

    Mr. Robinson: how many national titles has Chow been a part of? Probably 3 or 4. Not a bad record compared to other coaches you have covered.

  • Scores Idaho Falls, ID
    April 9, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    I noticed that BYU plays at Hawaii in November of 2017. Chow won't cancel that game because he won't be coaching in Hawaii in 2017.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    April 9, 2014 6:07 p.m.

    I have always enjoyed Doug Robinson's columns, even when I disagreed with him from time to time, and I do, here.

    Norm Chow was mostly controversial after he left BYU, but minor rumors persisted that he left because he was not named HC. When he joined the staff at USC, I followed his career again and there was doubt from the fans, even then, about his ability to get along with others on the USC staff, perhaps unearned, but the smoke was there. But, his 2004 team was one of the best in USC football history.

    I love Norm and his great offenses at BYU and at USC. He got what he wanted, a position as a HC at a university in his native state. His 27 years at BYU and his 3 years at USC is what I will remember...not the temper tantrum in his late years.

    I hope that is not for what he will be remembered.

  • CG Orem, UT
    April 9, 2014 5:18 p.m.


    Bronco didn't play for LaVell, so of course Kyle learned more from LaVell.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    April 9, 2014 3:54 p.m.

    All of the best coaches are extremely driven. That can't be said about reporters.
    For every coach who's held grudges, I'll bet there are 10 reports who've done the same.
    Being as intense and driven as they are, it's part of their makeup to dislike those who cross them.
    Maybe some coaches are mean but no more so than reporters are snarky and subjective.

  • Down under Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    Sounds like the beginning of the end for Chow. I give him one more year and he will be out the door. He is a liability for the school.

  • Sports Are Great Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2014 1:44 p.m.


    Why the obsession with byu? Are you so obsessed with the current byu program you want to turn every comment into a discussion of byu's current position? The article is about Chow and Lavell. You're suggesting Doug must include the current byu coach and his relationship with the media in any article about another coach and the media? Speaks volumes about the ute "fan" that you are.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    April 9, 2014 12:51 p.m.

    Old But Not Stupid,
    It was my intention to point out the obvious omission by Mr. Robinson when he wrote about the coaches that conflict with the media. We all know about LaVell's advise to bronco. "Be yourself...". I guess it only applies as long as you remain in happy valley.

  • Old But Not Stupid Moorpark, CA
    April 9, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    Layton, UT

    "Coaches that conflict with the media and fans...
    How about the current Head Coach and OC at byu?
    What did they learn from LaVell?"

    Don't think Bronco worked directly for LaVell...however, on Mendenhall's first day on the job LaVell stopped by and gave Bronco some advice [paraphrased]: "Be yourself. Don't try to be me or anyone else."

    Your sarcasm fails.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    April 9, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    IMO, Kyle learned more from LaVell than did bronco and anae.

  • RB Scott Boston, MA
    April 9, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    Many of the comments preceding this one propose "shooting the messenger" of unpleasant news. I have always liked Norm Chow going all the way back to his playing days at the University of Utah, where he stood out as a young man of integrity on a team that had a checkered history and truly bizarre, twisted coach (Mike Giddings). That said, Doug Robinson is one of the more even-handed columnists in the business. Robinson probably winced more than a little as he wrote the tough commentary on Chow's recent performance at Hawaii. Just like the President of the United States (Ironically, both President Obama and Chow went to the same prep school in Hawaii), Chow goes to work in the public kitchen each day. Their performances are regularly measured by journalists and public. Chow isn't the first coach or sports organization to try to exile a nay-saying reporter. Who was that "banned" journalist that famously resorted to clever disguises and binoculars to cover "The Masters" back in 1960s? I hope Chow succeeds as a head coach. However, if he doesn't, he won't be the first brilliant assistant who failed to make the transition

  • CG Orem, UT
    April 9, 2014 10:51 a.m.


    Coaches that conflict with the media and fans...
    How about the current Head Coach and OC at utah?

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 9, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Chow also held grudges against players. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, transfered after running afoul of Chow. He had a better college career after the transfer. And yes, he would have been a good player at the Y. My friend loved LaVell, hated Chow.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    April 9, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    Hey Doug,
    Coaches that conflict with the media and fans...
    How about the current Head Coach and OC at byu?
    What did they learn from LaVell?

  • FACTchequer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    BYU's decision not to offer the head coaching position to Norm Chow is being vindicated at Hawaii.

    Norm is a good drill sargeant, but he's not a good commanding general, and his inability to handle criticism is further proof that he wasn't the right man to be the face of the BYU football program.

    Harsh criticism from both the local and national media goes with the territory of being BYU's head football coach.

  • baddog Cedar Rapids, IA
    April 9, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    If Doug wrote accurately (and we have no reason to believe differently), I don't see where he was trying to demean Norm. Apparently there are those who always want to hammer the messenger. Is the criticism of Doug okay because it defends Norm Chow?

    Doug's counsel of many years ago proved to be good counsel. We all should learn from our mistakes. Many of us do.

    Thinking back when Norm left BYU, I was a bit disheartened at what his attitude seemed to be. Had he been the best candidate, I have no doubt he would have replaced Coach Edwards.

    What Doug did, it seems to me, is give some perspective on Norm's thin skin with reporters as was reported in the Honolulu newspaper.

  • Truth Machine Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Jack of trades

    Neither is any man except from criticism.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 9, 2014 8:18 a.m.

    I don't have anything to say about Chow, and I don't worry at all about his successes or failures. All of us have our ups and downs in life and sometimes the downs lead to stress and out of character behavior. But what I will say is LaVell Edwards is one of the great men I have known. My family history intertwines with him since the 1940s. He is approachable and consistent in his application of values. He reminds me of Stephen Covey, who I also consider to have been a great man and lived what he taught. I had a conversation with him about a situation where he could have been critical of someone who was acting adverse to Covey's interests. I set him up to say something negative, and he didn't take the bait. He only said positive things about the person. I was enromously impressed with Covey's integrity, and to this day, my admiration is unwavering. I have unwavering admiration for LaVell Edwards, too. Both are examples that the rest of us will struggle to emulate.

  • TrueBlue Orem, UT
    April 9, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    Norm Chow showed his true colors when he refused to allow a transfer from Hawaii to BYU to play last season.

    He thrived as an assistant coach when all he had to do was deal with teaching football skills and calling plays, but he's a terrible adminstrator and program manager.

  • Jack of trades SLC, UT
    April 9, 2014 12:22 a.m.

    No man is perfect. Chow apologized for this too.

    Mr. Robinson is as imperfect as the next man. He is always jumping on controversial stories to get reads. Problem is, you usually have to throw somebody under the bus with a controversial opinion piece.

    April 8, 2014 11:59 p.m.

    This article sounds like telling a tiger to change its stripes. Criticizing Nolan Richardson, Rick Majerus, John Thompson and Bobby Knight? Fans and media may remember Coach Knight for his tirades, but I would bet good money anyone actually involved in college basketball reveres his knowledge and coaching ability much more than they care about a chair on a court. These guys' personalities are what made them who they were. I liked Geno Auriemma's comments this week that people need to stop expecting every coach to be buds with all of his/her competitors; some coaches get along, and that's great, others don't; who are we to judge?

  • Dukester VANCOUVER, WA
    April 8, 2014 11:46 p.m.


    It sounds like you are a little bitter toward Chow. Lighten up a little. Not fair to compare him to Lavell.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    April 8, 2014 9:57 p.m.

    I wish Norm Chow all the best. I am sure he feels the weight of the world on him as his team is horrible and he expects perfection.

  • localblue Sandy, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:45 p.m.

    Chow doesn't have the same persona as Lavell Edwards. But Doug Robinson let's avoid the pot calling the kettle black. In all your years covering BYU did you not mostly have positive interactions with Chow? I'm guessing you did, maybe even very friendly, cordial, etc.

    I've had the chance to interact with Norm Chow on different occasions and he's always been one of the nicest, classiest, friendly people. Is he perfect? Definitely not, just based on this one example in HI. But think of the good. He's overcome various obstacles to have enormous professional success. He converted to the LDS church, raised a great family by all accounts, is very smart with a doctorate degree, etc. And he's mostly lived his life under the public eye.

    Unfortunately the media like to focus on the few negative instances to sell articles but when you look at the entire package, Chow's through and through a good man. Doug let's practice what we preach and not judge a man until we have walked in their shoes.

  • jaredw007 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:15 p.m.

    Most BYU fans probably feel bad for Chow's recently struggles in Hawaii but at the same time I think there is a feeling of some vindication as well. When Chow left BYU and was basking in the success at USC, every sports media outlet from ESPN to 1280 the zone lambasted BYU for not promoting him to head coach after Lavell. I can even recall Lee Corso talking about the 2004 game in Provo as a payback revenge game for Chow. Never mind the fact that Chow had applied unsuccessfully for head coaching jobs at places like Stanford. If Chow truly was head coach material he would've been one long before his stint in Hawaii.

    Having said that, I do wish him well in his current gig but anyone who has followed his career should not be that surprised at the results.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    April 8, 2014 8:57 p.m.

    I remember when Dee Dowis the Air Force Quarterback a few times could not hear cadence and BYU was penalized Lavell had a few things to say to the official. Even when he didn't agree with the ref's though I think he was civil. When he is out in public how much privacy does he get? Will be with family or in mall and people that recognize him will want to talk to him right and left and he accommodates usually. I read a book about basically what goes on behind scenes with BYU coaches and players and one time someone in Temple didn't recognize him though relative got job with him. He probably is delighted when people don't recognize him.

    April 8, 2014 5:51 p.m.

    Liked the perspective. Holding grudges doesn't stop you from winning in sports or being successful in life, but quality of life sure is impacted!

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    April 8, 2014 5:42 p.m.

    We can also learn from Coach John Wooden. He also never held grudges. He was a truly a committed Christian man who believed in practicing forgiveness. And by the way, he got great results, both on and off the court.

  • Sambonethegreat Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    Really interesting article, Doug.

    I'm still a bit perplexed why Chow hasn't turned out to be a good head coach. He knows how to run an offense, he knows how to develop great players, and he knows how to handle adversity. He had some sweet gigs at great schools.

    Why is the Hawaii job ruining his once excellent career? Can he even hope to turn it around? And for the record, I thought hiring Clune was an excellent move for the Warriors. They need to muster up the all the defensive power they can get.