Y., Chow in talks about job

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LOS ANGELES - Despite numerous comments to the contrary, USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow is reconsidering a return to Brigham Young as its head football coach.

In conversations with Tom Holmoe, BYU's athletic director over football, Chow has indicated a willingness to discuss the job. After three consecutive losing seasons, Gary Crowton resigned last week.

Holmoe spoke to Chow Thursday night, sources told The Salt Lake Tribune. The top-ranked Trojans were preparing last week to face rival UCLA, a game USC won on Saturday to finish the regular season undefeated and most certainly earning a chance to play for the national championship in the Orange Bowl.

A source close to the situation said that the major obstacle facing BYU is its relatively low pay. However, the source said Cougars officials are working hard to find a way to come up with more money. Chow is the country's highest-paid assistant coach with an annual salary estimated between $400,000 to $600,000 depending on various incentives. Crowton earned an estimated $250,000 annually.

Chow, who was pushed out of Provo at the tail end of LaVell Edwards' tenure there, has been asked frequently of his interest in returning to the place where he first found great success as an offensive coordinator. Chow repeatedly said no, a statement he echoed

following USC's win on Saturday.

"I've been there and done that already," Chow said.

When it was pointed out he had not been there as the Cougars' head coach, Chow declined further comment.

A BYU defensive back during Chow's tenure in Provo, Holmoe has a close relationship with Chow, which has caused Chow to reconsider his previous opposition, sources said.

During Chow's four seasons at USC, the Trojans have reclaimed their spot as one the nation's elite programs.

Chow also is a candidate at Stanford. University officials plan to interview Chow - sources said today or Monday - now that USC doesn't play for another month. However, Pittsburgh's Walt Harris may be Stanford's first choice.

BYU's second choice may be Utah defensive coordinator Kyle Whittingham. Holmoe already has talked with the former BYU linebacker.

"We had a good discussion," Holmoe said. "I just hope we can continue to talk."

BYU may be competing with Utah for Whittingham. He is a candidate to replace Urban Meyer, who is bolting for Florida after coaching the Utes for two years.

With offensive coordinator Mike Sanford leaving to become UNLV's head coach, Whittingham's stature at Utah may rise.

"It's pretty obvious things are happening now," Holmoe said. "It's always the case in coaching that jobs are like dominoes. When one job goes down, then another one goes with it."

BYU assistants Lance Reynolds, Bronco Mendenhall and Paul Ti