David Shaw named head football coach at Stanford University
Jan. 13, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford University Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby has appointed David Shaw to the position of head football coach.
Shaw, 38, becomes the 34th head coach in Stanford history and the first alum to lead the program since Paul Wiggin (1980-83).
"David Shaw is exactly the right person to lead our football program at this time," said Bowlsby. "David has the experience, intellect, coaching skills and organizational abilities to be a tremendous head coach. He understands and embraces the combination of world class academics and world class athletics that is required at Stanford.
"David has made a substantial contribution to the recent success of our program and our team has great confidence in him. I could not be more excited to work with David and to assist him and his staff in leading our football program to high achievement in the years ahead.
"David Shaw has been a large part of the Stanford football program's success over the past four years, and he has all of the experience and qualities to continue the momentum into the future," said Stanford University President John Hennessy. "He is a Stanford graduate and a long-time member of our Stanford family who has personally been part of our scholar-athlete tradition. He understands our values. He also has a wealth of experience outside of the university, and broad respect among both those in his profession and on campus. I am excited about the prospects for Stanford football under his leadership."
As the team's offensive coordinator the last four seasons, Shaw played an instrumental role in the resurgence of the Stanford program which has established school scoring records each of the last two seasons.
Stanford was the ninth-highest scoring team in the nation this season, averaging 40.31 points a game, scoring a school-record 524 points during its 12-1 season which culminated with a victory over Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl. The point total surpassed the previous record of 461, established by the 2009 team.
During Shaw's tenure as offensive coordinator, the Cardinal scored 40 or more points in 11 games since the 2007 season, including 10 times over the past two campaigns.
Even though it was Stanford's passing game that drew most of the attention this past season, the Cardinal running game flourished under Shaw's tutelage. Despite the loss of consensus All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart, Stanford averaged 213.77 yards on the ground, which ranked second in the Pac-10 and 17th nationally. The Cardinal amassed 2,779 yards on the ground this season, which was the second-highest rushing total in school history.
Shaw tutored five running backs - Stepfan Taylor, Anthony Wilkerson, Tyler Gaffney, Usua Amanam and Jeremy Stewart - that combined to rush for 2,063 yards in 13 games, an average of 158.6 yards a game. Last season, Gerhart averaged 143.9 yards per game while Stanford as a team averaged 218.2 yards on the ground.
Taylor's final rushing total of 1,137 yards was the second highest total in school history, trailing only Gerhart's senior total of 1,871.
Shaw joined the Stanford coaching staff in 2007 as the team's offensive coordinator after serving in the same capacity at the University of San Diego. In 2006, the Toreros led the nation in total offense en route to capturing the Pioneer League championship and NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major national title.
The 2006 squad finished 11-1 overall and led all NCAA Division I-AA teams in passing offense (293.3 ypg), total offense (494.25 ypg) and scoring offense (42.83 ppg). Quarterback Josh Johnson was one of four offensive All-Americans on the team and led all NCAA Division I-AA quarterbacks in passing efficiency (169.0 quarterback rating), touchdown passes (34, co-leader), points responsible for (24.33 ppg) and total offense (336.7 ypg), while throwing for 3,320 yards to also lead the country and running for another 721 on the ground. He added 11 rushing touchdowns and even caught one TD pass.
Shaw also has nine years of NFL coaching experience with the Philadelphia Eagles (1997), Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and Baltimore Ravens (2002-05).
Shaw's most recent coaching job in the NFL with Baltimore included a stint as the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach from 2002-04 before working solely with the wide receivers in 2005. His tenure included a 2003 campaign that reaped an AFC North title and a 10-6 regular season record. Derrick Mason set a new franchise record with 86 receptions under Shaw's tutelage in 2005 when he also posted the third-biggest season to date in terms of receiving yards with 1,073. Mark Clayton set a franchise rookie record for receptions in 2005 when he caught 44 balls for 471 yards.
After three seasons of quality control with the Oakland Raiders from 1998-2000, Shaw moved into the role of quarterbacks coach in 2001 as the Raiders won a second straight AFC West title and finished the regular season with a 10-6 mark. Quarterback Rich Gannon made the NFL Pro Bowl for the second straight season and ended up as the game's MVP. Gannon had the third-most prolific campaign of his 16-year pro career during the 2001 regular season, throwing for 3,828 yards on 361-of-549 passing (65.8%).
Shaw began his NFL coaching career as the quality control with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997.
Shaw began his coaching career at Western Washington, where he coached the outside linebackers in 1995 and the tight ends in 1996.
A four-year letterwinner at Stanford from 1991-94 as a receiver, Shaw was a member of Stanford's 1991 Aloha Bowl team coached by Dennis Green that finished the season with an 8-4 mark and was the third-highest scoring team in school history. He was also on the Cardinal's 1992 Blockbuster Bowl winning squad coached by Bill Walsh that had a 10-3 overall mark. Shaw finished his Stanford career with 57 catches for 664 yards and five touchdowns.
David's father, Willie, was an assistant coach at Stanford from 1974-76 and again from 1989-91. He coached for a total of 33 seasons, including 15 in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams.
Shaw also competed in a varsity track meet and a varsity basketball game while at Stanford before graduating in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in sociology.
A native of Union City, Calif., David and his wife, Kori are the parents of three children, Carter, Keegan and Gavin.
Coaching Stanford football has been David Shaw's dream
By Elliott Almond, San Jose Mercury News
When David Shaw took his first coaching job, his mother cried. The wife of a career football coach, she knew firsthand what the profession does to families.
"Haven't you seen what's happened in our lives?" she asked her son.
Of course, he knew. His dad was Willie Shaw, a man who had counted the Raiders and Stanford among his many employers. The son knew the long hours, the frequent moves, the whole deal.
Still, he couldn't resist.
"There's no other feeling like it in the world," David Shaw said last week when he landed his dream job as the head football coach at Stanford.
Shaw, 38, bleeds Cardinal red. He played at Stanford in the early 1990s, a receiver under Dennis Green and Bill Walsh. For the past four seasons, he served as Stanford's offensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh. In between, he worked for Western Washington University, the Raiders, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Baltimore Ravens and the University of San Diego.
But it was always Stanford at the end of the rainbow.
Shaw had his sights on The Farm from the time he attended Cardinal practices with his dad at age 3. In junior high he once asked his father what he needed to do to get to Stanford.
"See that kitchen table right there: Every night for three hours sit at that table and read a book or do your homework," Willie Shaw told him.
The kid took the advice. A star at James Logan High in Union City, he was a four-year letter-winner at Stanford, catching 57 passes for 664 yards and five touchdowns and earning a degree in sociology.
He even used the school to impress the woman who would become his wife: On their first date, they ate fast food on the steps of Stanford Memorial Church.
"We ended our first date in front of the church, we got engaged in front of the church, and we got married in the church," Kori Shaw said.
Shaw is Stanford through-and-through -- a quality that set him apart from the other candidates for the job to succeed Harbaugh. Stanford officials believe Shaw's intrinsic understanding of the university will help it become a football power instead of a once-every-decade feel-good story. His mission is to maintain the lofty standards Harbaugh set with a 12-1 season, a No. 4 national ranking and an impressive victory in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.
Saturday night, speaking to Stanford fans at halftime of the men's basketball game, Shaw said: "I have a favor to ask. After tonight, the Orange Bowl is officially over. After tonight, we talk about the future, not the past. After awhile, oranges rot."
Shaw has the football pedigree to live up to those words. He accompanied his father to practices much of his life, often staying in NFL dormitories, shagging balls at practices and attending team meetings. In Detroit, where Willie was a defensive assistant from 1985-88, the Lions players once told him, "Coach, your son knows what we are doing."
At Stanford, Walsh said Shaw was as well-prepared as any player he had coached.
But Shaw wasn't so sure about this coaching thing. He planned to launch a business career after graduating in 1995.
Then Willie called in a favor with a friend at Western Washington. Despite his mother's misgivings, Shaw jumped at the chance, telling his mom he just had to get coaching out of his system.
"I had this itch," he said. "Once we start, we can't do anything else. We sleep in our offices and work insane hours. Our passion for the game and for the guys we coach, it comes to a point where you can't hide it."
He was a lifer after the first day of practice. The promise burgeoned in the NFL. In Baltimore, where Shaw worked with wide receivers and quarterbacks from 2002-05, coach Brian Billick singled him out as an "up-and-coming, bright" head-coaching candidate.
But that's not a straight-line deal -- something else Shaw knew from his father's experience. In a career that spanned four decades and 14 stops, Willie Shaw was never a head coach. The most painful snub might have come in 1992, when Green left Stanford for the NFL. Shaw was in line, but Walsh came available.
Willie expressed bitterness on his way out the door, but time has softened those feelings -- time and recent events.
"This is even more rewarding than if I had gotten it back then," Willie Shaw said, fighting back tears Thursday when his son got the job.
Shaw's mom cried, too. But this time tears of joy.
Stanford Coach Takes the Next Step
by Pete Thamel, New York Times Sports
Soon after he graduated from Stanford, David Shaw met Kori Bevans. They saw "Apollo 13" on their first date, then went to Jack in the Box and ordered two tacos and two fries.
Instead of dining in, Shaw had a suggestion that allowed him to introduce his first love to his new one: "I want to show you my school."
The spot of their impromptu fast-food picnic, just outside Stanford's Memorial Church, was also where David dropped on one knee and proposed four years later. They married in the church in 2001, and the symmetry of their story reflects the depth of Shaw's devotion to the university.
With No. 7 Stanford awash in optimism, holding its highest preseason ranking since 1950 and the Heisman Trophy favorite Andrew Luck, Shaw has been elevated from assistant coach to one of the most intriguing positions in college football. Can the mild-mannered Shaw keep Stanford on the path forged by his ornery predecessor, Jim Harbaugh, who left for the N.F.L. after guiding the Cardinal to a 12-1 record, including an Orange Bowl victory?
"He won the job," Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby said. "He didn't get it because he was a Stanford guy, or an African-American or because his dad coached here. He won it by articulating a vision and having passion that comes across. This guy is special and has been around a lot of great coaches."
A few days after Shaw, 39, got the Stanford job, he had a quiet moment in his office with his father, Willie, a longtime assistant coach in college and the N.F.L. "We closed the door and we hugged and there were tears," Shaw said. "It was one of the best moments of my life."
The embrace celebrated two dreams fulfilled. The tears were shed for Willie Shaw's lost dream, which helped forge a path for David to get the head coaching job he never could.
Willie Shaw, an assistant with five colleges and seven N.F.L. teams, interviewed for five N.F.L. head coaching positions and was a finalist with Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Brian Billick, who coached with Willie Shaw at multiple stops and also coached David at Stanford, said: "It's hard to understand now, but when you look back in that era, African-American coaches were thought of more as great position coaches and recruiters."
Willie Shaw said he was so close to getting the Stanford head coaching job in 1992 after Dennis Green left for the N.F.L. that he had met with the university president and that a team meeting and a news conference were scheduled to announce his appointment. Green recalled that Willie was "an eyelid away."
But the sudden availability of Bill Walsh dashed that plan. As always, Willie Shaw did not become bitter, but rather moved on to the next stop.
"If I was on the committee, I would have hired Bill Walsh over me too," he said. And after seeing all those disappointments up close, his wife, Gay, knew the significance of the hug between Willie and David.
"There was so much that wasn't said, that was felt in that moment," Gay Shaw said. "It was part of what you do as a non-Caucasian in this land. Since I've been in the Bay Area and met a lot of Asian people who have had similar experiences. There's an unspoken bond between me and these ladies and our husbands. We don't complain, but we keep on fighting."
As a Stanford receiver, David earned the nickname Coach Shaw for being a stickler with the underclassmen, and he even begged Walsh to call the play -- a shallow cross known as 76X -- that resulted in his first touchdown. Still, Shaw insisted that he would not follow his father into coaching, and he nearly joined an asset allocation firm after graduation. But he felt a tug.
"I wasn't ready to put on a tie," he said.
Shaw took a job as a graduate assistant at Western Washington in 1995, and he fondly recalled earning $7,000 a year and eating nightly dinners of $3.95 teriyaki chicken.
Gay Shaw was upset with her son's career choice. "Haven't you been paying attention your whole life?" she said she told him. She recalled the Thanksgivings separated from her family, more than a dozen moves and continual rumors and uncertainty. Now that Willie is retired and their three children and five grandchildren are all in the Bay Area, Gay Shaw said, "You couldn't dynamite me out of here."
After his first day on the practice field, it would have taken explosives to move Shaw to another profession. Soon, he emulated his father's style of teaching and articulating the most minute detail.
"I saw the allure and saw that this was something that you don't necessarily choose to do," Shaw said. "It's something you do and you can't stop doing."
Rob Smith, the Western Washington coach at the time, said Shaw did not yell, listened in meetings and connected with the players individually. He stood out by not trying to stand out.
"It wasn't about David Shaw," said Smith, now the coach at Humboldt State. "It was about the job and the players with David. My guess is that he hasn't changed."
While at Western Washington, Shaw got an internship with the Philadelphia Eagles and impressed a young assistant coach named Jon Gruden. Wide receiver Irving Fryar unintentionally taught Shaw a valuable coaching lesson during that camp.
Shaw shook Fyrar's hand when the internship ended and told him he was going back to college coaching. Fryar could not believe that Shaw, who had tutored him on the nuances of the West Coast offense, was only 26.
"When you speak from a position of knowledge, you get people's respect," Shaw said. He eventually joined Gruden with Oakland as a quality control coach and worked his way up to quarterbacks coach for the 2001 season, which ended with the Raiders' loss in the controversial tuck-rule game against New England. Shaw credits Gruden for teaching him to think like a play caller, especially after Gruden berated him for failing to think through a mock game plan he had drawn up.
Gruden, now an analyst for ESPN, remembered that Shaw had a quiet swagger. During training camp in 1999, when the Raiders cut receiver Dameane Douglas, a fourth-round draft pick out of California, Gruden recalled that Shaw said: "He went to Cal. What did you expect?"
As for Shaw's future, Gruden said: "He's going to do an excellent job, just as he's done there already. David Shaw wasn't sitting there with his mouth shut and eyes closed. He deserves a lot of credit for where Stanford is."
In his office, Shaw has a tissue box with pictures of a smirking Rex Ryan, for whom Shaw was an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens. Shaw and the bombastic Ryan are opposites in personality, and the tissue box is a reminder of that.
"Be yourself," said Shaw, acknowledging that he smiles whenever he sees Ryan's pictures. "And when something goes wrong or crazy, it reminds me of Rex saying, `Do you want to take a tissue and cry?' "
Despite his composed nature, Shaw can show emotion.
When Doug Baldwin was a freshman receiver at Stanford in 2007, the trainers held him out of a practice with a hamstring injury. But Baldwin joined a one-on-one drill anyway, so Shaw stopped practice and grabbed him by the jersey.
"I won't repeat what he said," Baldwin recalled with a laugh. "But I got the message."
Although Shaw, unlike Harbaugh, is selective in showing his intensity, no one doubts his passion.
"The packages are different," Bowlsby, the athletic director, said of Shaw and Harbaugh, "but the contents are the same."
As Stanford's offensive coordinator, Shaw worked closely with Luck, the starting quarterback since 2009. Comparing his new coach with Harbaugh, Luck said Shaw would be a "little less eccentric and maybe a little less polarizing than the guy we had before."
The former quarterback Rich Gannon, who had Shaw and Harbaugh as N.F.L. position coaches, said he did not expect any drop-off with Shaw in charge.
"I think the one guy who is really going to benefit is the quarterback," Gannon said. "One thing David really does well is knowing what the quarterback needs."
Kori Shaw said she had asked her husband why he did not show more emotion on the sideline. He responded that he was not going to change who he is. That means, perhaps, a quick fist pump after a big play, then he is analyzing the next situation.
"David's personality is what you see," Kori Shaw said. "That's how he is all the time. When something is exciting, he'll say, `I'm excited.' But not excitedly."
Kori Shaw loves Stanford as much as David does. She has degrees in mechanical engineering, a bachelor's from M.I.T. and a master's from California. On the side, she has studied Chinese, and in April she traveled to China to test her linguistic skills. Recently, she decided to spend more time with their three children: Keegan, 8, Carter, 6, and Gavin, 1 ½. A self-described closet nerd, Kori Shaw had worked as a model and at various Internet start-ups.
"In the football vernacular," Bowlsby said, "David outkicked his coverage."
Shaw has changed little since they met, his wife said, although he no longer has his pet snake, named Sade after his favorite singer, and rarely suggests Jack in the Box for dinner anymore. He is comfortable looking at sculptures in the Prado in Madrid, as he did on a family vacation this summer, and voraciously reading presidential biographies.
"He's the kind of person," she said, "when no one is looking he'll still do the right thing."
Shaw has another first date on the Stanford campus. This one will come against San Jose State on Saturday, and a few more people will be watching. He is hoping for another happy ending.
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