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The Yoda Of Westwood

There is nothing posted on our official website yet.

We will update this post when something official is up over there. ESPN is running the story in their football section. Tracy Pierson has it up over at Bruin Report Online.

Gilbert over at Obscure Sports Quarterly dug up this 2001 ESPN article on Chow written right after his arrival at Southern Cal:

In 27 years at BYU and last season at North Carolina State, Chow's series of short to mid-range passes, thrown to each and every eligible receiver, has produced some of the greatest offensive seasons in college football history. Yet doing this at USC, at a school that cherishes its Heisman-winning running backs like Harvard does its Rhodes Scholars, is something entirely different.

"I worried about that before I even took the job," Chow said. "But because of what's happened here over the past couple years, the fans are hungry for something positive to get behind and support.

"I'm not naive enough to think that if it doesn't work they won't be all over us, but these people are clamoring for the success of the old days. No matter what it takes."

When defensive-minded Pete Carroll took the USC job in January, he made it his first priority to pry Chow away from N.C. State. He barely knew Chow, but Chow's track record and conversations with a handful of NFL quarterbacks spoke volumes.

In 18 seasons as offensive coordinator, Chow coached six of the top 12 career passing efficiency leaders and 11 quarterbacks who rank among the top 30 in NCAA history for single-season passing yardage. The Cougars scored 30 or more points in 106 of 181 games. His list of pupils include Robbie Bosco, Steve Young and 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer.

Chow coached Philip Rivers, who broke seven school passing records and was named ACC Freshman of the Year last season. The Wolfpack offense finished second in the ACC behind Florida State (396.2 yards per game), with Rivers throwing for 3,054 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

"I really didn't know much about Coach Chow until he got here," USC quarterback Carson Palmer said. "But when I saw his bio, I was like, 'Wow.' I couldn't wait to work with him. I had no idea."
Well we know what he did over at South Central. No wonder this news is leading to this kind of amusing reaction at LAT's All Things Trojan:
Bruin coach Rick Neuheisel wasn't able to steal linebacker coach (and UCLA alum) Ken Norton from the Trojans, but this one strikes a much deeper chord. While USC is sure to maintain the party line ("we're taking it one game at a time" ... "they're a great team, he's a great coach"), the media will have a field-day with Carroll-Chow and Sarkisian-Chow "rivalry."

The Sarkisian angle is simple -- he worked under Chow for three years at USC, first as a graduate assistant and then two seasons as the quarterback coach. Now he's the Trojan's offensive coordinator. The two will be compared, though they won't compete head-to-head.

The Carroll angle is a bit more complex. He aggressively pursued Chow as his first hire at USC, pushing the administration to free up enough money for the offensive mastermind. With Carroll as head coach, they partnered to win consecutive national championships -- Chow listed as offensive coordinator and Carroll listed as defensive coordinator. Nationally, both have been considered the best at their respective roles. Just a few years later, they're pitted against one another with an intimate knowledge of how the other operates.

There's a temptation in Troy to get upset at UCLA for hiring from within the Trojan family, especially because Chow and Carroll reportedly didn't end on great terms. That's like mocking the Bruins for having gold as a team color. USC's no different. Besides having Norton on staff, the Trojans once tried to hire Knute Rockne away from Note Dame. He respectfully declined, and famously suggested they go after Howard Jones.

It was just a few weeks ago that Chow was considered a candidate for UCLA's head coaching position. He won't exactly be taking a paycut thanks to his NFL severance. It really facilitated things when the Titans fired Chow. Had the timing been different, maybe he'd have wound up the head coach at Hawaii, which happens to be where he grew up.

At USC, Norm Chow was a man who enjoyed the simple pleasures (like watching Traveler gallop around the Coliseum), a man who was often portrayed as far more profound than eloquent, and a man who's brilliance transcended the complexity of his difficult profession. For Trojan fans, Yoda has joined the dark side.
Whatever you say TrOJie. As far as we are concerned if this becomes official Yoda will find himself where he truly belongs training Bruin Jedis to take back on the Evil Empire of College Football. It couldn't be more perfect.

I agree with ryebreadaz that this development is a move towards the right direction (assuming it will be official later today) we still have a long way to go and we have to keep things in perspective (and we will here on BN). But still last night's news pretty much wipes away the disappointment of Saturday. And everyone should get excited and celebrate if this becomes official later today.

That said for the non Bruin outsiders: so much for UCLA being just a basketball school. We take our football seriously in Westwood. Deal with it.


UPDATE: It is now official. Coach Norm Chow is a Bruin:
Norm Chow, who is considered one of the top offensive coaches in football history, has been named offensive coordinator at UCLA, Bruin head football coach Rick Neuheisel announced today.

"Norm brings great offensive expertise to the job," said Neuheisel. "He has enjoyed tremendous success throughout his career and has been the architect of some of the most explosive offenses in college football history. We are thrilled that Norm has decided to become a Bruin. What youngster who plays offense in high school wouldn't be excited about playing for a school with Norm Chow as its offensive coordinator?"
Welcome to Westwood Coach Chow. GO BRUINS. - N

UPDATE II: Coach Neuheisel and his OC Norm Chow just had their first joint teleconference and Dohn has some early notes from the CRN/Chow teleconference:
--No terms or length of the deal were release
--Neuheisel said he wanted to go after the best, and got the best
--Neuheisel said it is like a start-up company with having DeWayne Walker and Chow as coorrdinators, and it will be an "egoless" endeavor.
--Chow will call the plays
--Chow said he has no problem receiving input from Neuheisel on offense
--Filling out the rest of the staff will take some time, but the big hires have been made and UCLA is ready to finish the recruiting class
This is really happening folks. GO BRUINS.

UPDATE III: No post on the Yoda of Westwood would be complete without a picture:

Picture Source

He does give off that Yoda vibe. Successful, the Bruins will be... -T