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Chow negotiations ongoing to be next UH football coach

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 12:03 a.m. HST, Dec 21, 2011

University of Hawaii lawyers are continuing to negotiate a contract that would make Norm Chow the first Asian-American head coach of a major college football program.

Members of the UH general counsel's office have been conferring with attorneys from Yee & Dubin Sports, the Los Angeles-based agents for Chow, for several hours today, according to someone familiar with the negotiations but not authorized to speak on behalf of either party until an agreement has been concluded.

The Hawaii-born Chow is of Chinese, Hawaiian and Portuguese descent.

Word that Chow has been offered the UH job spread excitement through his family for reasons beyond a Hawaii homecoming. Reportedly some members of the family broke into tears.

"I think what it is is that it would be beyond my dad (for importance)," said Maile Chow, an English teacher at Mid Pacific Institute. "'He would be the first Asian-American to ever be a head football coach in the NCAA" at a major school. "That's beyond our family, beyond my dad as a person. It is a representative of a lot of other things and so I think that is why the rest of us also feel that way."

Monday night the UH administration authorized athletic director Jim Donovan to begin negotiations with Chow to fill the vacancy left by the Dec. 5 resignation of Greg McMackin.

UH is reportedly prepared to pay Chow $600,000-$800,000 a year for up to five years, the Star-Advertiser has been told. McMackin was paid $1.15 million a season.

A person familiar with negotiations but not authorized to speak for either party said "the salary for (Chow) won't be the hold up. Talks are more about what the assistant (coaches) will get. He's focused on trying to put together a staff."

Friends said the 65-year-old Chow wants to finish his coaching career here. He is a native of Palolo and a Punahou School graduate.

Chow currently receives $275,000 as Utah's offensive coordinator, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Chow reportedly received a $1.2 million buyout from the Tennessee Titans, where he was offensive coordinator through 2007, and $500,000 from UCLA last year.

Chow has spent 38 years in college coaching at Brigham Young, North Carolina State, USC, UCLA and Utah but this will be his first head coaching job. He has coached three Heisman Trophy winners and been part of national championship teams at BYU and USC.

Chow did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

A press conference to announce the hiring could be held Thursday, depending on negotiations and Chow's travel availability.

Chow beat out four other candidates. They were University of Texas assistant Duane Akina, Baylor associate coach Brian Norwood, Oregon State assistant Mark Banker and Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

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