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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 18, 2008

No titanic struggle for Chow

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Columnist

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Norm Chow

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Norm Chow had just hung up from a phone call that, he said, contained a feeler about another coaching job. But the recently fired offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans had another idea.

"I'm going to come back to Hawai'i, buy a place on the North Shore, watch University of Hawai'i practices and games and get after Ron Lee."

Lee is the Warriors' newly announced offensive coordinator and a friend of Chow's since their high school days in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.

Clearly, the shock from the firing is wearing off. Soothed, no doubt, in part by the $2.5 million or so the Titans are obligated to pay Chow under terms of a two-year extension they had agreed to in the fall.

So shed few tears for Chow, even if he wasn't allowed to complete the considerable challenge of turning Vince Young into a top tier NFL quarterback two seasons into the project. A work in progress that had seen the Titans go 10-6 and reach the playoffs but Young pass for just nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

For the first time in 37 years, including a stint as head coach at Waialua High, there is a possibility Chow will not be on the sidelines or in the coaches' box high school, college or pro this fall. For the first time in more than 40 years, including playing days at Punahou School, his football could be viewed from the stands or in front of a big-screen TV. A thought that gives Chow pause as he evaluates his football future.

Standard contract terms usually require that a coach given a buyout forfeits a portion equal to the pay of any job he takes, which gives the 61-year-old Chow a lot to think about. He could take a college job UCLA has been rumored to be interested in him as offensive coordinator take another pro job, or, as he puts it, call it a career and "go to the beach."

All in all not a bad choice of options from which to choose for someone who has coached three players to Heisman Trophies. And be assured there will be other jobs pitched his way before fall camps open across the college and pro landscape. Even if the UH job wasn't one of them, though a booster did call to gauge his interest (described as minimal) early in the process.

Exactly why Chow was let go by the Titans hasn't been fully explained yet. "I never did get an explanation. All I was told was they were going to go in a different direction," Chow said. "He (head coach Jeff Fisher) called me on the phone and let me go."

Speculation had been that Fisher wanted to bring back Mike Heimerdinger, who was hired yesterday for a second stint as offensive coordinator for the Titans.

"A lady sent me condolences," Chow said. "I don't know why."

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8044.

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