According to multiple sources, Chow has been offered and is expected to accept the head-coaching position at Hawaii, which just happens to open its 2012 schedule against USC on Sept. 1 at the Coliseum.
Hawaii Athletic Director Jim Donovan received permission from the university administration to negotiate a contract with Chow, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Chow, a Honolulu native, is said to have emerged Monday as the leader among three finalists after a meeting among top university leaders. A press conference announcing the hiring could be held as early as Thursday, depending on negotiations and Chow's travel schedule.
Chow, 65, served as the Trojans' offensive coordinator from 2001-04, during which time USC won two national titles and had a pair of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. He turned down an offer to become Kentucky's head coach in 2002.
He left USC for the Titans job in 2005 and was replaced by Lane Kiffin, who has been the Trojans head coach for the last two seasons. Chow also served as offensive coordinator at UCLA from 2008-10 and spent last season in the same role at Utah.
Hawaii's previous coach, Greg McMackin, retired earlier this month after posting a 29-25 record in four seasons, including a disappointing 6-7 mark this year.
-- Chuck Schilken
Photo: Norm Chow with Carson Palmer in 2001. Credit: Los Angeles Times