HONOLULU - After five schools, four decades and three national championships, Norm Chow's career has come full circle.
A tearful Chow was introduced Thursday as the new coach of the University of Hawaii football team in an emotional news conference, surrounded by old friends.
"I'm honored, I'm humbled and I'm awfully excited to be here to stand before you as the next football coach of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors," Chow said, using the mascot name that was shed more than a decade ago under former coach June Jones.
When introduced Thursday as the University of Hawaii’s new football coach, Norm Chow said: “We will win football games and we will chase championships. … We will make all of you proud. That, as well, is a promise to all of you.”
The 65-year-old Chow, who was born and raised on Oahu, is being looked upon to revive a struggling program that failed to make the postseason this year.
"How many people are fortunate enough to go full circle? I'm blessed. I'm honored. I know that," he said. "I say my prayers every morning and I'm grateful for that. I started at Waialua High School in 1970 and to have this chance to come back home all these years later is just a treat. It's a privilege and I'm never going to ever forget that."
Chow was scheduled to attend a reception hosted by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Thursday night before returning to Utah, where he is in his first season as offensive coordinator. The Utes are preparing to face Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.
Norm Chow's coaching career
2011-Utah (offensive coordinator/tight ends)
2008-10-UCLA (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2005-07-Tennessee Titans (offensive coordinator)
2001-04-Southern California (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2000-North Carolina State (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1996-99-Brigham Young (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator)
1990-95-Brigham Young (assistant head coach/co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1982-89-Brigham Young (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1976-81-Brigham Young (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator)
1973-75-Brigham Young (graduate assistant)
1970-72-Waialua High School (head coach)
He previously served as offensive coordinator at UCLA, Southern California, North Carolina State and Brigham Young, as well as with the Tennessee Titans. He won two national championships at USC, and one at BYU.
Chow said his first goal as coach is to graduate student-athletes and prepare them for their lives - but that's not all he wants to do.
"We're going to win football games," he said. "We're going to win as many football games as we can possibly win. That I will tell you. We will win football games and we will chase championships. We will make all of you proud. That, as well, is a promise to all of you."
He said his players will be ready next season.
"Those that survive will be prepared to play football," he said.
Chow wouldn't name possible assistants, but said they would be good recruiters. He said he must get used to being on the field instead of calling plays from the coaches' box.
When asked about his defensive philosophy, he said: "It will be a very aggressive style with a lot of man-to-man coverage and teams better be able to pick up the blitzes when they see us play."
Chow has agreed to a five-year deal. Athletic director Jim Donovan wouldn't comment on the details, but it is believed to be significantly less than the $1.1 million per season paid to former coach Greg McMackin.
"Money has absolutely nothing to do with this," Chow said. "I have a chance to come home, I have a chance to represent this university. I have a chance to represent this state. I have a chance to hopefully serve as an example to some and money has nothing to do with that."
Chow said he'll focus on recruiting, which includes keeping top local recruits at home.
"For years, I've come over here to recruit and I've been telling all these young kids to leave home," he said. "No more. We're going to tell them to stay home and make us proud. I'll have to change my recruiting pitch a little bit."
The Warriors open the 2012 season at USC on Sept. 1, and visit BYU later that month.
"I've been coaching for a long time, but how much more exciting does it get than that? How much bigger of a challenge do you want? And if you didn't like challenges, you shouldn't be in the business," Chow said.
Chow won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach in 2002 while with USC and was voted the national assistant coach of the year by the American Football Foundation in 1999, his last year at BYU.
"The university is delighted to welcome back a native son," UH president M.R.C. Greenwood said. "We are pleased to have such a talented coach lead us forward. It is also a pleasure to make history with the first Asian-American head coach in major college football."
The Warriors just completed their final season in the Western Athletic Conference. They are moving to the Mountain West Conference starting next season. Chow said he wants UH to play against the best.
"Bring 'em on," he said. Bring anybody on. If we want to be the best that we can be, then let's go play the best that we can play."