Hawaii Football Coach Norm Chow Says He’s Paid $550,000

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BY JIM DOOLEY – University of Hawaii head football coach Norm Chow says his annual salary is salary is $550,000.

Norm Chow (University of Hawaii photo)

The university last week cited “personal privacy” exemptions in the state’s open records to withhold Chow’s precise compensation.


Hawaii Reporter protested that decision to the state Office of Information Practices, citing a 2003 OIP opinion that said the football coach’s compensation should be a public record because the coach is highest-paid government employee in the state.

Today Chow said through UH Athletics spokesman Derek Inouchi that the salary is $550,000.

“Coach Chow appreciates the University maintaining his personal privacy and the general public’s understanding, but he does not want the curiosity of a few to detract from the reasons he chose to return home,” Inouchi said in an email.

“Coach Chow has therefore decided to disclose that the exact amount of his salary under his current employment agreement with the University of Hawaii is $550,000 annually,” Inouchi said.

Hawaii Reporter has asked Inouchi for an unredacted copy of Chow’s employment agreement.

The five-year deal pays Chow half of previous head coach Greg McMackin’s $1.1 million salary.

McMackin stepped aside last year. The university agreed to pay him $600,000 to buy out the final year of his five-year contract.

Chow, 65, was born and raised in Hawaii but has spent virtually all of his coaching career on the Mainland.

He was a respected assistant coach at a number of major college football programs and also served as an assistant in the National Football League.

Chow’s deal with UH contains a number of incentive clauses that would pay him as much as $500,000 more than his base pay if the football team meets or surpasses certain performance milestones.

The largest bonus — $200,000 – would be paid if the football team were to win a Bowl Championship Series post-season game.

Chow said after he accepted the job that salary had “nothing to do with” his return to Hawaii.

The main motivation, he said, was “the chance to come home.”





  1. Seems a straight forward answer. Very refreshing for a change.

    Offhand, I’d say Hawaii got the better of the deal, unlike with McMackin. Whoever hired McMackin for $1 million a year should be fired.

  2. we should all commend Norm for his well how it all shoulda been all forthrightly handled to begin with (ridiculous). And I dunno about you, but at least for most Hawaii people, $550,000 salary isn’t shabby at all. Jim Dooley doesn’t make that much even with incentives. The next time UH wants to lavish a million dollars on a head coach, let the coach pay for all the assistants and trainers on his staff. And for the on-campus football facilities. What a racket.

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  4. Good for Chow. Now if he’d only work the NCAA to permit Ohio State to come here for Hawaii’s much-needed and serous-revenue-producing 13th game…!

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