January 14, 2011

David Shaw: What We Know

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By The Daily Axe Staff
David Shaw Press Conference

s you probably know, Stanford announced that David Shaw–a Class of 1995 graduate of Stanford and Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator during Harbaugh’s time on the Farm–will assume football head coaching responsibilities. Sure, he’s been around Stanford and spent his college career here playing wide receiver, but a lot remains to be found out about Shaw as a head coach. In that spirit, here’s what we know (or are pretty sure we know) about head coach David Shaw.

Where He’s Coached: Western Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Oakland Raiders, the Baltimore Ravens, the University of San Diego, and Stanford. Along the way, he’s served as outside linebackers coach, tight ends coach, wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, passing game coordinator, offensive coordinator, running backs coach, quality control coach, and now–for the first time–head coach. Since graduating from Stanford, he’s coached either the NFL or college non-stop.

Who He Is (in an extremely abbreviated manner): A 38-year-old husband and father of 3 who majored in sociology and is a native of California. His father, Willie Shaw, served as an assistant coach in the NFL for years. In his introductory press conference on Thursday, Shaw told a comical but rather tragic story about his mother’s disappointment when he decided to take his first football coaching job. The aforementioned quote comes 12:48 into the video.

Why He Got the Job: Shaw served as the offensive coordinator for the entirety of Jim Harbaugh’s stay, including the 2009 and 2010 seasons, when Stanford made unprecedented strides in both overall success and, more specifically, offensive scoring ability. Shaw mentored Heisman runners-up Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck, and played a big role in recruiting Luck to Stanford in 2007 and 2008. Shaw also displayed the most loyalty to Stanford of all of the candidates in the interview process, and claimed in the press conference that he wanted the interview with Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby to be the last interview of his coaching career. If he can continue the success that Harbaugh began, that’s very good news for Stanford fans.

Who He Follows: As head coach: Jim Harbaugh. But Shaw is the first Stanford graduate to become Stanford’s head coach since Paul Wiggin assumed the post in 1980, and just the fifth alumnus coach in the history of the school. Shaw will also try to earn a winning record during his years as a Stanford head coach–a feat that has only been accomplished by two (Harbaugh and Tyrone Willingham) of the last four Stanford head coaches.

What He Has to Do Right Away: Solidify a coaching staff and the recruiting class that Harbaugh assembled before setting off to the Niners. We know that 2010 assistants Greg Roman and Vic Fangio are leaving the Farm, and Shaw has already promoted former wide receivers coach Pep Hamilton to offensive coordinator. Expect several more hirings or promotions in the coming days. In addition, with 22 recruits from the Class of 2011 on the Farm this weekend for their official visits, Shaw will need to convince them all that they should still attend Stanford, despite Harbaugh’s departure. Forget about unpacking bags and organizing the new office. Shaw will need to get going immediately.

Why He Might Become Popular Quickly with Stanford Fans: Shaw seems like a character guy and an even-tempered head coach. He’ll certainly bring a different attitude to the job than the often bombastic Harbaugh did. Shaw mentioned wanting to enter into the 25+ club with women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer. Not many FBS head football coaches around the country mention wanting to be like a women’s basketball coach, and it seems that many Cardinal fans will appreciate Shaw’s awareness of other sports and the general sentiment around campus that sports always take a back seat to academics. And if he is anything like VanDerveer as a coach and a loyal Stanford leader, he’ll become the most popular Stanford football coach in decades.

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The Daily Axe Staff
The Daily Axe is an independent Stanford sports website covering Cardinal athletics year-round. Find The Daily Axe on and on social media via the links below.


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