LOS ANGELES -- Norm Chow, who tutored a pair of Heisman
Trophy-winning quarterbacks at Southern California, is returning as
offensive coordinator at crosstown rival UCLA.
Chow, fired last week by the Tennessee Titans, joins the staff
of coach Rick Neuheisel, the former Bruins quarterback who took the
job late last month.
"I've always admired his work," Neuheisel said. "You don't
have to look far into the stats to see this guy can diagram and
call plays. If anybody in college football has done better, I'm not
aware of it.
"I think UCLA deserves the best."
The 61-year-old Chow said he enjoyed working at USC, where one
of his sons graduated and another is still in school.
"It's a unique place and obviously Pete [Carroll] has done a
great job. We'll still have that same respect -- except for Saturday
afternoon," Chow said Monday during a conference call.
Neuheisel, noting that he attended law school at USC, added,
"Our goal is to get to where they are, among the elite in the
Before coming to USC and working with
Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, Chow groomed Heisman winner Ty Detmer at BYU. His coaching
resume includes six quarterbacks who were first-round picks in the
NFL: Palmer, Leinart, Philip Rivers, Jim McMahon, Steve Young and
UCLA quarterback Ben Olson was considered one of the top
prospects in the nation when he came out of high school, but he has
yet to live up to his billing with the Bruins.
"I remember Pete saying he was one of the best in the
country," Chow said, recalling when he was on the Trojans' staff
and Olson was in high school in Thousand Oaks, Calif. "I did get a
chance one summer to see him at a camp and he looked awfully good.
"I'm looking forward to not only working with him, but the
other quarterbacks as well. I remember [Patrick] Cowan from
recruiting as well."
Olson, who was 13 when he first met Chow at a football camp,
said he was "thrilled to death" that he's coming to UCLA and
added, "I'm going to find out where he is so I can go and deliver
some flowers to him."
Both Chow and UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, friends
for more than two decades, were candidates for the Bruins' head
coaching job that went to Neuheisel. Now they're on his staff.
Asked about the pair being considered for the head coaching
post, Neuheisel said, "I think it speaks volumes about the two
guys. DeWayne and I have forged a relationship of mutual respect,
and he got involved with talking to Norm."
Neuheisel said he considers the trio a partnership, a startup
company and "the sky's the limit."
Karl Dorrell was fired as the Bruins' coach Dec. 3 after they
went 6-6. Walker served as interim coach in a 17-16 Las Vegas Bowl
loss to BYU.
Chow was the Titans' offensive coordinator for three years and
credited with helping Vince Young make the transition to the pro
game. The Titans finished 10-6 and made the playoffs for the first
time since 2003, losing 17-6 to San Diego in an AFC wild-card game.
But Tennessee ranked 21st in the league in total offense and
became the first team with only nine touchdown passes to reach the
playoffs in a 16-game season.
Chow, a native of Honolulu who played guard at Utah in the
1960s, served under Carroll at USC for four seasons, including two
national championship years. Before that, he worked with Rivers
at North Carolina State following 27 years on the BYU staff.
He said one big benefit of coming to UCLA is rejoining his
family after his stint in Nashville.
"Instead of coming back to an empty hotel room, I'll come home
to my family," he said.
Chow laughed and added, "I've been home for a week and I think
I'm driving my wife crazy."
Terms of his contract with UCLA will not be announced until they