Don't ask me how, but Hawaii beat San Jose State on the road last weekend.
The Spartans lost that game more than the 'Bows won it, with SJSU turning the ball over three times, missing three field goals, and nearly doubled the offensive output Hawaii had in the 13-0 victory on Saturday. The win moves Hawaii to 3-8 (2-4 MW) this year, tying the best record since Norm Chow came to Honolulu in 2012.
There has been some noticeable improvement in this year's team compared to 2013, but will it be enough to keep Coach Chow as the Head Coach for the Warriors? The arguments to send him on his way speaks for themselves. Since Hawaii made the jump to Division 1, Chow is only one of two coaches (Fred Von Appen) to begin their tenure with two straight losing seasons. He also currently holds the second-worst win percentage in school history, with just seven wins in 35 attempts in his first three years at UH.
In the Mountain West, Hawaii has found themselves at the bottom of the West Division since making the jump from the WAC in 2011. The 'Bows have won just three games since joining the conference, in fact, 2014 has been their best season in the MWC with a 2-4 mark. The football program's recent struggles have caused a decline in ticket sales, and brings up questions about the future of Hawaii football itself. UH is about $2.1 million in the hole, and with crowds like this becoming a regular thing, I'm not sure how the program can crawl itself out of that hole.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Let's take a look at Aloha Stadium twenty minutes to kick <a href="https://twitter.com/MWCConnection">@MWCConnection</a> <a href="http://t.co/8IpbQ3dGeF">pic.twitter.com/8IpbQ3dGeF</a></p>— Chris Turner (@ChrisLTurner) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisLTurner/status/510998590991650816">September 14, 2014</a></blockquote>
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The Warriors have two very winnable games left on the schedule, hosting UNLV this Saturday, and end the 2014 season with a trip to Fresno State next week. Even if UH finishes the year 2-0, is it enough to keep Norm Chow as Head Coach for another year? Hawaii would finish 5-8 (4-4 MW), better than Chow's first two years at UH. Crazy enough, Hawaii is still in play for a division title. On the incredible off-chance that happens, I would think Ben Jay retains Coach Chow for another year.
Chow is in the third year of his five year contract with UH, but with a lack of progress and continuing frustration from fans and boosters alike, it wouldn't surprise me to see him out at the end of the 2014. His buyout for the last two years of his contract comes out to around $750k, the question now is if Hawaii is willing to pull together the money to send him on his way. Dave Reardon of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser voices his opinion on the need for a change:
Unless Hawaii rallies for a miracle stretch run it will be time for a coaching change - and this is regardless of claims that UH doesn't have the money to do it. It will lose more in the long run if it does NOT find the funds to buy out Norm Chow after three years of averaging less than three wins per season.
This year was a step in the right direction for Hawaii, but nearly 30 losses in three seasons is unacceptable for any program. If this program want to get out of the cellar of FBS and the Mountain West, it starts with a change at head coach. Money may be an issue, but the potential of losing the program looms as a bigger issue if you're Ben Jay. It's time for a new start. It's time to fire Norm Chow.