So here is the latest on Norm Chow following Rick Neuheisel's teleconference yesterday. Let's reset a little bit again. Coach Neuheisel stated Norm Chow "assured" him that he wants to be at UCLA:
Obviously there's been lots of talk about Coach Chow and his situation. I talked to Norm as he was en route back from the east coast. He assured me he wants to be at UCLA."
The profession is one where you cert want a commitment. You want people who want to be there. I think NC feels that about UCLA. I don't think it, its exhibited. That being said, no one would ever be angry at somebody that if they got a blockbuster deal and felt like they couldn't turn it down. All I know is what NC told me that he is committed to UCLA.
However, CRN also made clear he is not going to stand in the way from Chow entertaining blockbuster deals being thrown at him (which makes a lot of sense). Meanwhile, on the other end it is pretty clear that Mike Garrett is the one making the run at Norm Chow from South Central (not Hello Kiffin). Garret came clean about that to the Trojan lackies at ESPN yesterday:
"I would really like to add [Chow] and a couple other people but the reality is I can only add them as they accept," Garrett told ESPN in an interview that will air on SportsCenter. "It's not going to be a bidding war. Lane [Kiffin] is going to have to go out fill the rest of the squad out. It's really Lane's call."
Chow's agent, Don Yee, said Wednesday afternoon there was contact initiated by a USC representative who expressed interest. Yee said the conversation was brief but both sides agreed to talk again in the near future. Yee said there was no prior contact or negotiations with himself, Chow or Carter Chow, an attorney with Yee's agency who is the son of the UCLA offensive coordinator.
As P observed astutely below, it's not clear whether Lamey wants Chow at Southern Cal and whether he will be able to check his insecure ego enough to give up the right to play calling. Given the context around Kitten and Chow, Kitten himself might not want Chow around at all, even if Chow is being pursued in a full court press by the Trojan booster $$ powered Mike Garrett. Lamey could say sweet nothings again and retract what he said at his joke of a press conference last night re. play calling. However, any reasonable person in Chow's situation would know that he is potentially walking into a toxic, cluster**** set of circumstances working under that idiot and at that renegade program if he were to go there now.
So where does that all leave us. The media is of course running with the easy angle in this story: money. As we have brought up multiple times, Norm Chow's K with UCLA runs through next season under which he will receive $640,000 through 2009-10 (yesterday I erroneously posted the figure of $690,000). From the reports we have read in last few days, it appears the Trojans are ready to throw substantial chunk of change to lure Chow, offering him multi-year K, which would probably pay him in the range of $1-1.5 million per year. So the question becomes for UCLA (Dan Guerrero and Rick Neuheisel) whether they will decide to extend Chow's K by offering him a competitive amount of $.
Chris Foster from the LAT reported that negotiations to extend Chow's K with UCLA had taken place before last two days of drama:
An extension to keep Chow at UCLA was discussed in recent weeks, the school athletics source said, but Chow gained leverage when Lane Kiffin was hired to replace Pete Carroll as USC's head coach.
That makes sense to me. However, I think money is not the only factor, which I explained in my attempt to game out the decision making process for Chow, Neuheisel and the UCLA administrators yesterday. More after the jump.
The knee jerk UCLA fans (again the idiots who were jumping off the ledge on Tuesday night as soon as they heard Shelly Smith's "report," really shame on you) will of course want UCLA to pony up the pile of cash right away. Neuheisel FWIW indicated that UCLA will consider upping Chow's K using the word "movement":
When asked if Chow - who is in the last year of a three-year deal that will pay him a $250,000 base salary, a $140,000 talent fee and a $250,000 retention bonus April 1 - would be considered for an extension, Neuheisel said, "Obviously there can be movement in that regard. That's for the people who sign the checks and make those decisions. With respect for me, I want to know that my assistant coaches want to be here."
However, as I noted I strong believe UCLA and Neuheisel need to consider all the facts before extending Chow's K which should weigh not just the short term benefit of denying the Trojan boosters a short lived win, but the long term interest of our program.
I have really enjoyed having Coach Norm Chow here and I personally want him to stay. However, I also want him to stay if Chow, Neuheisel and UCLA can work out an arrangement that will not only financially make sense for all parties involved, but it would also ensure the best working and stable environment around UCLA football. I am not worried if it takes few days. From Neuheisel's comments it's clear Coach Chow is going to do his part in helping out recruiting while he is here:
And as we read from Kevin Prince's comments and recruits who are coming in next year, we are going to be in good shape no matter what. We just need to ensure that all parties involved in the negotiations come away satisfied and happy. Interestingly it sounds like even the Trojans are recognizing is that Chow is leaning towards staying at UCLA.
At the end this is going to work out well for us one way or another. If Chow decides to stay, that will be awesome. If Chow decides to move on, we should thank him for what he did and wish him luck in remaining years of his professional career (he will need it should he chose to work for a clueless sleazebag like Hello Kiffin at a hell hole like Southern Cal). As CRN mentioned last night he already has a list in mind and moreover, he himself has more than credible experience when it comes to coaching up big time NFL and college QBs and guiding potent college offenses (prior to his return in a talent barren Westwood).
Either way right now the matchup between UCLA and Southern Cal comes down to Rick Neuheisel v. Hello Kiffin. I like our chances.