POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 13, 2012
~~<p>The day that Norm Chow took the University of Hawaii head football coaching job, his <br />
The day that Norm Chow took the University of Hawaii head football coaching job, his 94-year-old mother offered an interesting initial response. “Well,” she said, “I hope they treat him better there this time.” Toby Chow need not worry when her youngest son walks into Aloha Stadium Saturday for the home opener against Lamar. It won’t be cover-your-ears and hide-the-grandchildren time. “Traitor, turncoat ...” — and worse — will not be part of the serenade that greets Hawaii-born-and-bred Norm Chow when he emerges from the tunnel. After 15 previous visits (one at Honolulu Stadium and 14 in Halawa) against UH in the Boo-Y-U blue of the archrival Cougars, the 66-year-old Chow will be embraced in green and black, the face of hope for UH. Unlike the days in the late 1970s through mid-1990s, when he was the point man for BYU recruiting and had his finger on the trigger of the Cougars’ prolific passing game, Chow is no longer Public Enemy No. 1 from Palolo. It was hard for people to despise the Cougars’ head coach at the time, grandfatherly LaVell Edwards. Edwards would stand impassively on the sideline arms crossed or chin resting in his palm; no more threatening than a park statue. But Chow was the guy who would get booed jogging up through the stands to the press box, where he called the game. His mother, legend had it, would get grief from her hair dresser when the BYU game approached. It did not help that BYU, with a lot of local talent Chow had recruited and exported to Provo, Utah, won 10 games in a row over UH between 1978 and 1988. Nor did it go down well when UH was poised to win some of the games, only to have BYU maddeningly yank the artificial turf out from under them. If quarterback Jim McMahon wasn’t kicking a left-footed punt to the 1-yard line on the run, then linebacker Kyle Morrell was leaping over the line of scrimmage to sack a quarterback. Or, Walter Murray was dropping a game-winning pass in the end zone. And it was all Chow’s fault. Well, some of it, anyway. Like the time in 1980 McMahon had a sore shoulder and Chow, after consulting his father, Warren, took McMahon to see an acupuncturist. McMahon proceeded to thrown a then-NCAA record 60 passes in the 34-7 victory over UH. Such was the level of frustration and lament that an older UH fan beseeched then-head coach Bob Wagner to please, please beat the Cougars before he died. When UH finally got its revenge, 56-14, in 1989, and Ty Detmer was sacked a school-record 10 times, fans delighted in wagging fingers — and tongues — in Chow’s direction. Most sweet was the day Detmer was awarded the 1990 Heisman Trophy — and UH did all the celebrating after laying a 59-28 shellacking on the Cougars. Chow is 11-3 on the opponent sideline at Aloha Stadium and now the expectation, once unimagined in his BYU heyday, is that Toby Chow’s son will be the toast of his hometown. ——— Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529-4820.
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