Chow rebuffs USC, stays at UCLA
LOS ANGELES – Offensive coordinator Norm Chow is staying at UCLA, rebuffing overtures from Lane Kiffin to return to Southern California.
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel confirmed Thursday that Chow, a widely respected offensive mastermind during nearly four decades in college football, will be back for a third season with the Bruins.
USC athletic director Mike Garrett acknowledged Wednesday he hoped to lure Chow to Kiffin’s new staff with a lucrative offer, but Chow decided not to switch sides in Los Angeles’ fierce football rivalry.
“I appreciate the interest from USC and Lane Kiffin, but I feel we are building something special here at UCLA, and I am excited about our future,” Chow said. “We have some outstanding young players in the program, and we’re working hard on finishing strong in recruiting.”
Chow has coached three Heisman Trophy winners while running some of the nation’s most sophisticated passing offenses, starting with 27 seasons alongside LaVell Edwards at BYU.
Chow was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator during the first four seasons of their remarkable nine-year run under former coach Pete Carroll.
But Carroll replaced the longtime assistant with Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian in 2005 in a move still lamented by many Trojans fans. Carroll apparently wanted to shift Chow’s responsibility primarily to coaching quarterbacks while turning over the offense to his two young assistants.
Chow instead took over the Tennessee Titans’ offense for three seasons before returning to Los Angeles when Neuheisel became UCLA’s coach in 2008.
“As Norm said, we are building something very special at UCLA, and he is certainly an important part of the package,” Neuheisel said. “We have unfinished business here at UCLA, and our coaches and players are very excited about our future. I’m glad Norm wants to finish what he’s started. UCLA is a special place to call home.”
UCLA (7-6) beat Temple 30-21 in the EagleBank Bowl last month to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2006.