On the eve of Stanford’s first Rose Bowl appearance in 13 seasons, second-year head coach David Shaw has signed a long-term contract extension to remain on the Farm, Stanford President John Hennessy and Athletic Director Bernard Muir announced Wednesday.
Financial terms of the new deal and the length of the contract have not yet been disclosed.
“David Shaw has led the football program to great success,” Hennessy said. “He embodies the goal we have for our scholar-athletes — success in the classroom and on the field. We are pleased that he will lead our football program for years to come.”
A former wide receiver for the Cardinal and a brief member of the basketball and track teams, Shaw finished his football career with 664 receiving yards and five touchdown catches. He graduated with a degree in sociology in 1995.
“I feel blessed to work every day with an outstanding staff and coach the best group of young men in America,” Shaw said Wednesday, “and I am excited to lead the Stanford football program for many years to come.”
On the heels of his second consecutive year as a finalist for the national coach of the year award, Shaw had fielded an influx of questions this season about his long-term plans on the Farm and his desire to perhaps try to return to the NFL like his predecessor, Jim Harbaugh. But today’s announcement is in line with everything Shaw has said in public, as he has consistently maintained that Stanford is and has always been his “dream job.”
Shaw’s path back to Stanford after his graduation was a gradual process. He quickly transitioned to the coaching side of things just one year after taking off the pads for good, working with Western Washington before becoming an assistant in the NFL for Philadelphia, Oakland and Baltimore. He joined Harbaugh as an assistant at the University of San Diego, working as the passing game coordinator and receivers coach, as the Toreros went 11-1 and earned the top marks in Division I-AA in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense.
He followed Harbaugh to Stanford the following year and has coached receivers and running backs, while also serving as offensive coordinator during Harbaugh’s four-year stint that saw the Cardinal improve each season and earn the first BCS bowl appearance at the 2010 Orange Bowl.
But Harbaugh was always the face of the “franchise,” his personality drawing the media’s attention and his implementation of old-school, smashmouth football turning around a Cardinal program that won one game in 2007. His departure had most people questioning whether Stanford was a flash-in-the-pan success that would flounder without Harbaugh’s play-calling and bravado or Andrew Luck’s quarterbacking.
ESPN’s Pac-12 beat writer Ted Miller had this to say when Shaw was promoted to replace Harbaugh after the 2010 season: “Shaw’s hiring won’t reverberate nationally. The leading response will be, ‘Who?’ Heading into the first season of the Pac-12, the general reaction from other teams is likely this: ‘Yahoo! No more Harbaugh!’ More than a few folks will wonder if a safe, internal promotion won’t lead Stanford back down in the conference pecking order.”
Stanford won the Pac-12 North Division this season thanks to an overtime road victory over then-No. 2 Oregon and took the Pac-12 Championship via a win over then-No.17 UCLA.
“I will do what I can to help this place be successful,” Shaw said when he was hired. “Two years of good football is not enough.”
Two has become four, as in less than two calendar years since the day he stood at the podium and accepted the job, Shaw has added two more BCS berths, racked up two Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards and compiled a 22-4 record.
Stanford will take on Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.