Norm Chow returned to Honolulu today to take a University of Hawaii head football coaching job that "I didn’t think would ever happen."
Chow was introduced as the successor to Greg McMackin at a campus press conference this afternoon.
"Thank you for allowing me to come home," Chow said this afternoon.
Chow, who was named to the position Wednesday, was scheduled for a whirlwind first day: Meet with athletic director Jim Donovan on a number of issues, including the hiring of a staff, sign some employment papers, be the guest of honor at a reception at Washington Place hosted by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and attend tonight’s UH basketball game in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Chow said his first responsibility is to graduate students and prepare them for life. But he also committed to winning "as many football games as we can possibly win."
"We’re going to win football games," Chow said. "We will chase championships. That’s our job."
Chow spent 38 years as an assistant at five colleges and one NFL stop but said getting his first head coaching job and having it at home at UH "was something I hadn’t imagined."
Chow said he is "in a hurry to assemble a (coaching) staff."
He is scheduled to meet with all the members of the current UH coaching staff and said, "I won’t have a problem putting a staff together. I’ve heard from a tremendous amount of coaches from across the country."
He said he hasn’t as yet offered a job to anyone.
"I’m fired up, I’m excited, and I can’t wait," Chow said.
The 65-year old Chow said he "will keep a hand in the offense. I’ll be involved in the offense. Very much so."
Players should also have ambitions for the NFL, Chow said.
"I would hope that every recruit we bring in thinks he can make the NFL," Chow said. "Obviously very few will, and that is why we go back to responsibility No. 1, so we could prepare them for the rest of their lives."
UH also announced a season ticket drive at today’s press conference.
Reaction of the hiring of Norm Chow:
San Diego Chargers Quarterback and former N.C. State Quarterback
“I had Coach Chow my freshman year at N.C. State and he was a lot of the reason why I got my career going as a true freshman. Without him, I don’t know if I would’ve had the success that I had as a freshman, which then I was able to continue through the rest of my college career. Although I only had him one year, we’ve kept in touch over the past 10 years and I think he’s a great coach. More importantly I think the University of Hawaii is getting a great man. As a quarterback, he had a way of really giving you the best chance to be successful. There wasn’t just one cookie-cutter way about it. Depending on the player that you were, the guys you have, the personalities you have, he was able to tailor the system and the plays and the whole deal to give you the best chance to be successful. As at true freshman, that was huge for me.”
Former BYU Quarterback, Heisman Trophy Winner
“I’m just really excited for Norm. I think it’s a great opportunity for him. He’s been around a lot of football and he really helped me progress and was a great coach for me. It will be great for the University. He’s really good at putting together a system for what he has to work with. I think he will give people as much as they can handle. I know there have been times where they’ve run the ball a lot with him, and times where they’ve thrown the ball a lot with him. I think he’s really good with assessing what he has and calling plays and putting together a game plan with what talent he has to work with. He was always willing to allow me some freedom. If I didn’t like a play, he’d take it out of the playbook. He also gave me freedom at the line and allowed me to progress that way.”
Oakland Raiders Quarterback, Heisman Trophy Winner and former USC Quarterback
“He’s a great man, great coach and great role model. They will be an extremely hard-working team that’s well prepared. He’ll focus on winning, education and just bettering the young kids that he’s tutoring.”
Miami Dolphins Running Back, Former USC Running Back
“I really enjoyed playing under Coach Chow. I learned a great deal from him and grew both as a person and as a player under his direction. He has a great background and it’s no surprise that he has coached so many outstanding players. He is an excellent teacher who was instrumental in my development at the college level, and being exposed to his innovative offense was a great way to prepare me for the NFL. I enjoyed my time playing for him and I think he will bring an exciting and winning style of football to Hawai‘i.”
Houston Texas Quarterback, Heisman Trophy Winner and former USC Quarterback
“I’m excited for Coach Chow. He was an instrumental part of my career in college and helped me grow as a quarterback and as a person in college. I just always knew from talking with him that he always wanted to be a head coach and maybe people might have thought (the opportunity) would come earlier, but he’s just been a phenomenal coach for such a long time that it was inevitable that this was going to happen. I can imagine how excited he is to be able to coach at the University of Hawaii—it’s probably a dream job for him. I know he’s going to do a great job and I’m just really, really excited for his family. It’s a great opportunity for him, he’s been in a few places the last three years, but it all worked out perfectly for him in the end. He’s going to do a great job. Norm is an old school coach but he’s very, very good at what he does. His style is kind of a West Coast offense, moving the ball around and getting the ball out fast. Carson (Palmer) was the first to play for him and you look at all he accomplished. I just think he’s just really good at what he does. Knowing him, he’s going to put a great staff together and I think you’re probably going to see a little different style of football at Hawaii now. I know in the past it’s been the “run and shoot” with four or five wide and throw the ball all over the field. I know that Coach Chow likes to throw the ball, but I think you’ll see more of a balanced attack. He’s going to get the type of players he needs and I think it’s going to be awesome. It might take him a year or two to build but I think he’s a perfect fit for the job.”
President, Cleveland Browns
“I’m so excited about this. It’s a great thing for the University. I think it’s the most natural thing in the world. Norm and I first met and worked together at BYU. I learned so much about football from him and that was my first major job at the college level. We established not only a professional relationship, but a friendship at that time back in 1982. Since that time, we’ve kept in contact over the years. We’ve encouraged one another and watched our families grow up. The beautiful thing about this, is that he’s going home. He’s kind of come full circle and I think it’s a wonderful thing for the University, for Norm, and his family. There’s no question that he’ll be successful. He is as creative a football coach that I’ve ever worked with or know. His execution on offense—wherever he’s gone—it’s clear that he puts his imprint on the offense. He’s had Heisman Trophy winners at USC and BYU, Rivers at NC State, and all the great players that he had at BYU, so I think he’s the perfect hire.”
Utah Head Football Coach
“While we’re sorry to see Norm leave, the opportunity to become the head coach at Hawaii was too good to pass up. We appreciate his contribution to our program over the past year and wish him all the best in his new position.”
Former BYU Head Coach
“I think it’s a great hire. I think he’ll do an outstanding job like he has everywhere else he’s been. He did a tremendous job for us and Southern Cal and everywhere else he’s been. I think it’s just a great hire and I’m real happy for him and for the University of Hawaii. I think it’ll be a good fit. Norm and I had a great relationship. We brought him up as a graduate assistant when he was coaching high school over in Hawaii and he did a very good job for us and when an opening occurred on the staff we moved him up to a full-time assistant and he just went on from there and developed to be an outstanding coach, a very good offensive coach. I sure do think he’ll be successful over there.”
USC Head Football Coach
“We’re very excited for Coach Chow. After an outstanding career as an assistant coach with many teams, it’s nice to see him fulfill his dream to be a head coach. That’s a great hire by Hawaii and should lead to many years of success for the Warrior football program. We look forward to facing Coach Chow and his team when Hawaii comes to the Coliseum this fall.”
Former BYU Offensive Lineman/ESPN Analyst
“I think that’s a great fit. He was a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at BYU and I know him from those days there. I knew then that our talent was always maximized and no matter what happened, our guys were in a position to win. Off the field though, he’s even a better fit because he’s from Honolulu and knowing the family values of the Polynesian culture are critical. He understands that.”