AAP staff report
Norm Chow describes football as the most unique game in the world. Each player has an independent role from the other that is required to succeed as a whole.
After nearly four decades of college and professional coaching the O‘ahu native returned to his roots to coach the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in December 2011. Most recently with the University of Utah, Chow was called in to conclude a deflating UH season.
Norm Chow spoke with Asian American Press in 2007, when he was starting his final season as offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans in the National Football League. in his own words, “the dynamics of the NFL are exceedingly different from college football.”
At the collegiate level, Chow has a reputation for conditioning some of the greatest quarterbacks with the tools that made them collegiate and professional champions. He has helped to develop three Heisman Trophy winners and three national championships.
In college he provides the opportunities to teach young players the lessons they need to develop. In the NFL he said the rookie and veteran players arrive with a new level of expectations and goals.
In more than 30 years of coaching at the collegiate level Chow helped teams appear in 27 bowl games. He was named Assistant Coach of the Year three times, along with many other awards and honors.
Chow coached several positions over 29 seasons at Brigham Young University, then at University of Southern California and North Caroline State. His potent offenses have three national titles (BYU, 1984; USC 2003, 2004).
Chow has interviewed for NFL and collegiate head coaching positions and says he focuses on what he can control — how effective and successful he can serve. “I am a football coach who happens to be Asian, and not an Asian who coaches football. If you look at it any other way, it’s going to get you – it’s going to grab you.”
Born in 1946, Norm Chow is the grandson of Chinese immigrants with an ethnic heritage that includes Hawaiian and Portuguese ancestry. He was an all around athlete who excelled in football, baseball and basketball for Punahou High in Honolulu.
Chow went to the University of Utah and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1968. He was a starting offensive guard on the football team and was made the All-Western Athletic Conference team in 1967 and was an honorable mention for the All-American team.
His pro career in the Canadian Football League ended in less that a season with a knee injury in 1968. He returned to the University of Utah and earned his master’s degree in special education in 1970.
After three years as head football coach of Waialua High School in Hawai‘i, Chow completed his doctorate in educational psychology from BYU in 1979. He paid the bills as a graduate assistant coach, and was asked back as a Wide Receivers and Recruiting Coordinator.
Over time Chow added responsibilities as a co-offensive coordinator for quarterbacks, assistant head coach and then offensive coordinator.
What Chow and his wife Diane liked most about three decades at BYU was the opportunity to stay in one place and raise their four children. With the children grown, and some of them on O‘ahu teaching,
Chow and his wife are now keeping their family closer again and back in the college game in the Aloha state.