Norm Chow to be Utah's OC

Updated: January 23, 2011, 1:57 AM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

Norm Chow is out at UCLA.

The 64-year-old is returning to his alma mater as Utah's offensive coordinator. Chow was hired Saturday after spending the past three years in the same role with the Bruins.

The move comes as Utah is about to join the new Pac-12 Conference in 2011. UCLA will play at Utah on Nov. 12.

"It's not like I have to go in and change the world, they were 10-2 last year," Chow said when reached on his cell phone by ESPNLosAngeles.com on Saturday night. "I'm just happy to be part of a good staff and a group of guys and hopefully a chance to help out a little bit. They obviously realize they're going to be part of the Pac-10 [12] now so hopefully we can help out a little bit."

UCLA and Chow reached a mutual agreement on the terms of their separation, the school announced Saturday.

"We're disappointed it didn't turn out the way we hoped it would, but it wasn't because of a lack of effort or a lack of teamwork," Chow said. "[UCLA head coach] Rick [Neuheisel] and I are friends. I feel like we worked very very well together and it's just unfortunate that the results didn't show that.

Neuheisel said he wishes Chow the best.

"Norm is a fine man and an outstanding coach and I have enjoyed working with him," Neuheisel said.

Chow, a BYU assistant for 27 years, may be best known for helping develop star quarterbacks Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Ty Detmer, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. Detmer, Palmer and Leinart won Heisman Trophies under his tutelage.

"Adding Norm Chow to our offensive staff was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "Norm is widely considered one of the top offensive coordinators in the country and his experience at both USC and UCLA will aid us in our transition into the Pac-12 conference. I have a long-standing relationship with Norm and have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he has accomplished over the course of his career. His hiring will obviously mean some restructuring within our offensive staff and those details will be announced when they are finalized."

Dave Schramm and Aaron Roderick served as co-coordinators this past season. Schramm, also tight ends coach, and Roderick, also wide receivers coach, remain on the staff.

Chow was with BYU when the Cougars won their only national championship in 1984, and was coordinator at Southern California when the Trojans won national titles in 2003 and 2004.

He left USC in 2005 to be offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, but was fired after three seasons.

Neuheisel brought Chow to UCLA in 2007.

Chow recently signed a two-year extension with UCLA worth $1 million. The extension was agreed upon in July, but not signed until after the Bruins stumbled to a 4-8 season with an offense ranked 99th of 120 FBS schools. After the season, Neuheisel made it clear he intended to shake up his staff.

He fired defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough and wide receivers coach Reggie Moore on Dec. 18. He also said he was still evaluating Chow and deciding what his role might be going forward.

UCLA announced it had hired former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson as its new offensive coordinator Saturday morning. At that point, Chow's only options were to be reassigned to another position on the staff -- the only position open on the offensive staff was as a tight ends coach -- reach a settlement with the school on the remaining two years of his contract, or be fired.

Ramona Shelburne is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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