Chow’s Postgame Remarks

UH head football coach Norm Chow. Nathalie Walker photo

UH head football coach Norm Chow. Nathalie Walker photo

Much was made of UH head football coach Norm Chow’s comments after the Rainbow Warriors were shellacked at Utah State 47-10. Bear in mind, the loss took UH to 0-8, and it was the single worst performance of a difficult year.

That helps explain the post-game press conference in which Chow said, “I’m too old, I’m way too old,” in reference to the loss. It was later described as tongue in cheek, and I believe it was, but it highlighted the coach’s inexperience with the media. Even though his relationship goes back some decades with Utah reporter Brad Rock, the coach has to realize that other microphones also are recording his every utterance, and other reporters don’t have the shared history that would put the remark in context.

While anyone in Norm Chow’s position would be frustrated, the head coach has to be the first one off the mat after a difficult loss. It will serve as a painful lesson to the second-year head coach, who had to spend time explaining and qualifying his comments well after the fact.

For those who took Chow’s comments literally, be assured that he has the energy of a man much younger that his 67 years.

Coaches almost never quit for three reasons that may vary in importance from coach to coach.

First, the head coach is not the only one affected; nine assistant coaches and their families also would be affected. Secondly, it is at odds with the “don’t ever give up” mantra preached to the players. Third, quitting would mean kissing goodbye their remaining contract, which in Chow’s case amounts to $1.3 million. Nor is quitting in most coaches’ DNA. They are persevering by nature; it’s hard to climb the coaching ladder without that virtue.

While many fans are frustrated and upset, there are divisions of opinion about what should be done about it. Some are clamoring for a coaching change; others believe this staff just needs more time. Athletics director Ben Jay will have to sit down and evaluate the program at season’s end, and that is as it should be.

But one thing is painfully obvious: Hawaii fans only will turn out for games in large numbers when UH is winning, and revenue projections fall way short for the entire athletic department when football attendance is down. * The recent allegations that had Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito suspended reminded me that there are new and old-school ways of looking at behaviors in athletic circles.

Recently, I had a parental situation to deal with. My 8-year-old son is on a baseball team where a couple of his teammates have been teasing him. He was unhappy about it, and I faced a dilemma. When many of us were kids, it was usually resolved simply – if you were being picked on, you either lived with it or smacked the offender in the nose and that was that. And my son is quite capable of defending himself. But I’m well aware that times have changed, so I made the decision to tell the coaches, who I knew were unaware of the behavior. The coaches addressed it, apologies were tendered and accepted and everyone moved on. Score one for the new school!