Chowing Down at Utah

I’m still having trouble getting my brain around Norm Chow.

Of course, that’s always been the case.

The former Ute football player and BYU assistant coach is reportedly set to return to the Beehive State as Utah’s offensive coordinator. That makes sense, considering the Utes have a couple of coaching vacancies and because their offense stunk the last part of the season.

Enter Chow, who since leaving BYU has become relatively rich and famous. He coached at North Carolina State, the Tennessee Titans, USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins. Sometimes he has thrived, sometimes not. But he certainly has a name. Some have called him the best offensive coordinator in the country. He has tutored three Heisman winners.

If he is hired, it opens up a couple of areas for the Utes. First, it should improved offensive production, especially with starting quarterback Jordan Wynn’s healthy return. Also, Chow’s name alone should help with recruiting. Now that the Utes are a Pac-12 team, going into recruiting season, the combination of Chow and their new conference affiliation should be a boost.

Chow has seen and done it all in the Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12). He and Kyle Whittingham have known one another a long time – since Whittingham’s days as a player at BYU. Though he obviously hasn’t had great success at UCLA lately, Chow hasn’t forgot how to coach. The addition at Utah would be a high profile move – one the Utes need after the feeble 200-yard offensive output in the Las Vegas Bowl.

I never saw Chow coming to Utah. I talked to him a few times when his name came up as a possible head coach at Utah, over the years, but he didn’t seem terribly enthused. Then he went to programs that paid as much money to coordinators as Utah did to its head coach. Things have changed. He isn’t making more than the head coach at Utah any more. He currently makes $500,000 a year with UCLA, while Utah coordinator positions pay a base salary of about $175,000. However, the Utah salaries might go up along with the move to the Pac-12.

With all the drama of Utah moving to a new conference, the “Chow Effect” would surely be an interesting subplot.

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