Norm Chow won three national titles during his 39-season career as an offensive assistant at Brigham Young, North Carolina State, USC, UCLA and Utah.
He crafted the talents of three Heisman Trophy winners (BYU’s Ty Detmer and USC’s Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart). He earned a reputation as an offensive mastermind.
“You better believe it,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “He’s a football coach through and through.”
No doubt, Chow’s past is impressive.
Not so much.
Chow arrives at Falcon Stadium with a Hawaii team that has lost six Mountain West Conference games by an average of 29.6 points. The Warriors just lost to Boise State, 49-14, while Chow watched the Broncos reel off 42 unanswered points.
Former Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, competed against Chow for decades. BYU, with Chow calling the plays, was DeBerry’s chief nemesis for years.
“He’s having a hard time right now,” DeBerry said this week, “but that will change when he gets the right people. I have enormous respect for Norm Chow.”
For Chow, his introduction to head coaching has been harsh. Chow had interviewed for head jobs at Kentucky and the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
He finally took the plunge in December when he was hired by Hawaii. It was a homecoming for Chow, who was born on the islands.
The happy ending for this homecoming will have to be in the future. This season has been harsh.
“I’m not sure that head coaching is all it’s cracked up to be,” Chow joked in a recent conference call.
The Warriors have been plagued by injuries. Eight players have been lost for the season, including five to knee injuries. The Warriors have lost four defensive linemen.
And it shows. Hawaii’s depleted defense ranks 106th in the nation against the run. This is bad news for Chow, who must find a way to slow Air Force’s strength. The Falcons' rushing offense ranks second in the nation, behind Army.
FALCONS SEEK BOWL BID – A win against Hawaii would give the Falcons six wins and make them eligible for their sixth straight trip to a bowl game.
Offensive tackle Jason Kons, playing in his final game, has other things on his mind.
“I’m sure that is one of the motivating factors,” Kons said of the possible bowl, “But right now our senior class is thinking about getting a win in our last home game.”