Bears Narrow the Field for Coordinator

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With the offseason almost two weeks old and the offensive coordinator position still yawning open, sources close the Cal football team indicate that head coach Tom Holmoe is pursuing North Carolina State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Norm Chow to replace recently fired Steve Hagen.

Chow, 54, served as Brigham Young's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 1978-1999, where he was at least partially responsible for crafting the Cougars' high-powered offense of the 1980s and '90s. In just one season at North Carolina State, Chow has turned the Wolfpack's offense around, averaging 31 points and 396.2 yards per game.

More importantly, Chow has a reputation for developing quarterbacks. At BYU he coached future NFL stars Steve Young and Jim McMahon along with 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer. This season, North Carolina State averaged 292.5 passing yards per game.

Holmoe has made it clear that he wants a coach who can develop sophomore Kyle Boller, who has all the tools of an All-American.

Chow also has ties to Holmoe. Holmoe played at BYU from 1979-83, just as Chow was getting started as the Cougars' offensive coordinator. And since Chow is not a candidate to succeed LaVell Edwards as head coach at BYU, he is unlikely to receive a head coaching offer this season.

Chow, who could not be reached for comment, is not the only prospective candidate for Cal's position. Kansas State offensive coordinator Ron Hudson, Arizona State offensive coordinator John Pettas, USC offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Louisville offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and Oregon offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford are also possible replacements for Hagen. Each of the coordinators also coaches quarterbacks.

Hudson, 54, has turned Kansas State into a perennial offensive juggernaut. The Cougars rank 21st nationally in total offense (424.25 ypg) and fifth in scoring offense (40.8 ppg). He runs a multiple-style offense that is similar to the system Cal has used for the last two years.

Of all the candidates, Hudson has the closest ties to the Bears. He graduated from Cal in 1969 and was the Bears' receivers coach from 1972-76. His father was the legendary "Doc" Hudson, who built Cal rugby into a national powerhouse and compiled a 339-84-23 record over a 37-year stretch.

When reached in his office in Manhattan, Kan., yesterday, Hudson said he hasn't yet been contacted for the Cal position but didn't rule out the possibility of considering the job.

"It's my dad's name at the Field House at Strawberry Canyon," Hudson said. "There are a lot of ties there."

As close as Hudson's ties are, it would be difficult for him to leave KSU. The Cougars are year-in, year-out Bowl Championship Series contenders and Hudson will probably be a head coach somewhere before long.

"Now I'm married and things are going well at KSU," Hudson said. "(Cal's offer) would have to be something special."

Hudson was a candidate to replace Doug Cosbie as Cal's offensive coordinator two years ago, but he was never offered the job. According to Hudson, Holmoe wanted to make a decision and Hudson was not yet ready to give him an answer, so Cal never formally extended an offer.

ASU's Pettas could also be in the running for the position. He coached former standout Sun Devils quarterbacks Jake Plummer and Ryan Kealy, and developed the Pac-10's top passing attack this season despite playing two former walk-ons at quarterback.

With ASU head coach Bruce Snyder on his way out, Pettas will be without a job next season. He also has a close relationship with Bears defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich, whom he coached with at ASU.

Pettas expressed interest in the job, although he has not been contacted yet.

"None of us have jobs at this point," Pettas said. "There are people on the (Cal) staff that have probably talked to Tom about me, but I haven't been contacted."

Meanwhile, USC's Jackson was a candidate last time around, but his stock may have fallen after USC's disappointing performance over the past two seasons. Still, the Trojans led the Pac-10 in total offense and Carson Palmer, Jackson's pupil, has shown flashes of brilliance. And with the recent firing of head coach Paul Hackett, it is unlikely that Jackson will return as USC's offensive coordinator next season. He could not be reached for comment.

Linehan and Tedford are outside shots at filling the position. Linehan has ties to the Pac-10 after spending five seasons as Washington's offensive coordinator. Tedford has built a high-powered offense at Oregon, but he is unlikely to leave a good situation in Eugene, where the Ducks have become a Pac-10 powerhouse. Neither coach could be reached for comment.


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