Chow turns down USC

LOS ANGELES — Norm Chow declined the chance to switch teams again in Los Angeles’ fierce football rivalry.

Chow said yesterday he’ll stay at UCLA for his third season as offensive coordinator, rebuffing overtures from Lane Kiffin to return to Southern California.

After a couple of uneasy days during which the Trojans openly courted Chow, UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel was grateful to learn his widely respected offensive mastermind had passed on a lucrative contract offer at USC.

“It’s an exciting time to be at UCLA,” Chow said. “I certainly understand the challenges, but I’m looking forward to what lies ahead at UCLA.”

USC athletic director Mike Garrett acknowledged Wednesday he hoped to lure Chow to Kiffin’s new staff, joining defensive guru Monte Kiffin and top recruiter Ed Orgeron. But the rumblings began to circulate through the media before USC had even made contact with Chow, who was on vacation in Florida when his imminent departure from UCLA was being reported as fact.