News

Stanford football director immediately resigns after Saturday's loss

David Shaw led the Cardinal to victory in 96 out of 150 games in 12 seasons

David Shaw, Stanford Cardinal's director of football, has resigned immediately after a loss to Brigham Young University on Nov. 26, 2022. In this photo, he celebrated the team's Rose Bowl Game will against Wisconsin on Jan. 1, 2013. Courtesy Jim Shorin/isiphotos.com.

Update: David Shaw reflected on his time at Stanford University during a Monday press conference. Read the full story.

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Stanford University's winningest head coach and director of football, David Shaw, has resigned effective immediately, following the team's Saturday 35-26 loss to Brigham Young University, the university announced on Sunday.

Shaw, a former Stanford football student-athlete, who as coach led the Cardinal to the most victories in program history, had a win-loss record of 96-54. He received the 2017 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year award, and led Stanford to three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowl victories in 12 seasons, the university said.

"After many prayers and multiple discussions with my wife, one phrase keeps coming to me – it's time. There are not sufficient words to describe the love and gratitude I feel for my family, all of my former and current players, my staff, this administration and the entire Stanford family. Thank you all," Shaw said,

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A national search for his successor will begin immediately, the university said.

Bernard Muir, director of athletics, praised Shaw on Sunday in the press statement.

"I would like to thank David for his immense contributions to Stanford. David has represented Stanford football, as both a player and a coach, with unwavering grace, humility and integrity. He has cared tremendously for each and every student-athlete in his program while helping them pursue their full academic and athletic potential. David will forever remain a valued member of the Stanford football family and an integral part of the storied history of the program. I hope Cardinal fans everywhere will join me in thanking David and his family for their extraordinary years of service and wishing them all the best in their next chapter," Muir said.

Shaw guided the Cardinal to three Rose Bowl Game appearances. He is the only four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, leading Stanford to three conference titles. His 96 overall wins rank ninth in Pac-12 history; his 65 conference victories rank fifth. Stanford achieved 29 wins against top-25 opponents, ranking eighth nationally since 2011. Eleven of those games were against top-10 programs and five were against top-five foes. Under Shaw, Stanford had 43 players drafted, a total ranking tied for 13th nationally and tied for the most in the Pac-12, the university said.

Stanford's football athletes also led academically, having the nation's leading 15 Academic All-Americans since 2010, five more than any other program and 10 more than any Pac-12 school in that span, including Andrew Luck and Christian McCaffrey as Academic All-Americans of the Year, the university said.

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Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Stanford football director immediately resigns after Saturday's loss

David Shaw led the Cardinal to victory in 96 out of 150 games in 12 seasons

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Nov 27, 2022, 11:21 am
Updated: Mon, Nov 28, 2022, 3:41 pm

Update: David Shaw reflected on his time at Stanford University during a Monday press conference. Read the full story.

---

Stanford University's winningest head coach and director of football, David Shaw, has resigned effective immediately, following the team's Saturday 35-26 loss to Brigham Young University, the university announced on Sunday.

Shaw, a former Stanford football student-athlete, who as coach led the Cardinal to the most victories in program history, had a win-loss record of 96-54. He received the 2017 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year award, and led Stanford to three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowl victories in 12 seasons, the university said.

"After many prayers and multiple discussions with my wife, one phrase keeps coming to me – it's time. There are not sufficient words to describe the love and gratitude I feel for my family, all of my former and current players, my staff, this administration and the entire Stanford family. Thank you all," Shaw said,

A national search for his successor will begin immediately, the university said.

Bernard Muir, director of athletics, praised Shaw on Sunday in the press statement.

"I would like to thank David for his immense contributions to Stanford. David has represented Stanford football, as both a player and a coach, with unwavering grace, humility and integrity. He has cared tremendously for each and every student-athlete in his program while helping them pursue their full academic and athletic potential. David will forever remain a valued member of the Stanford football family and an integral part of the storied history of the program. I hope Cardinal fans everywhere will join me in thanking David and his family for their extraordinary years of service and wishing them all the best in their next chapter," Muir said.

Shaw guided the Cardinal to three Rose Bowl Game appearances. He is the only four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, leading Stanford to three conference titles. His 96 overall wins rank ninth in Pac-12 history; his 65 conference victories rank fifth. Stanford achieved 29 wins against top-25 opponents, ranking eighth nationally since 2011. Eleven of those games were against top-10 programs and five were against top-five foes. Under Shaw, Stanford had 43 players drafted, a total ranking tied for 13th nationally and tied for the most in the Pac-12, the university said.

Stanford's football athletes also led academically, having the nation's leading 15 Academic All-Americans since 2010, five more than any other program and 10 more than any Pac-12 school in that span, including Andrew Luck and Christian McCaffrey as Academic All-Americans of the Year, the university said.

Comments

Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 27, 2022 at 11:48 am
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 11:48 am

Well done, Coach Shaw! You have been a wonderful and shining example of class and success both on and off the field. Thank you for over a decade of smiles when thinking of Stanford Football. God bless you with whatever comes next.


Miriam Hargroves
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2022 at 12:12 pm
Miriam Hargroves, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 12:12 pm

It was time for David Shaw to go. His ship has sailed as Stanford football leaves much to be desired.

We need more innovative coaches like Bill Walsh and Jim Harbaugh.


Seth Neumann
Registered user
Mountain View
on Nov 27, 2022 at 12:14 pm
Seth Neumann, Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 12:14 pm

I've really enjoyed Coach Shaw's tenure and we've had some great seasons with him. Of course you're only as good as your last (2) seasons and two losses to Cal in row at the Big Game is hard to come back from. I also wish Coach Shaw the best of luck going forward.
I think Stanford needs to re-evaluate it's place in the college football world in an era where conferences are only fixed for the life of the current TV contract, and of free-agency (transfer portal), not to mention image and likeness. While these reforms have the potential to prevent the exploitation of young athletes, it's pretty rough on our traditional idea of scholar-athletes and regional competition, and Stanford was one of only a few programs really committed to that ideal.
All that said, it is time for a new approach and new leadership.


Fletcher Lange
Registered user
Stanford
on Nov 27, 2022 at 2:31 pm
Fletcher Lange, Stanford
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 2:31 pm

> "I think Stanford needs to re-evaluate it's place in the college football world..."

Excellent point. Maybe Stanford should consider being in a collegiate football league with other Ivy League universities where football is more of a weekend pastime.

Playing against teams from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Penn, and Brown would ensure Stanford of having a winning season every year.

Stanford is no match against powerhouse teams from Oregon, Washington, USC, and UCLA.

It is more evenly matched with football teams like San Jose State, UC Davis and other colleges that should also lower the bar.


Terrace Antelope
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 27, 2022 at 2:43 pm
Terrace Antelope, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 2:43 pm

All the best Coach Shaw. Thank you for your dedication and leadership representing the Cardinal.


S. Underwood
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 27, 2022 at 6:26 pm
S. Underwood, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 6:26 pm

It's really hard to view his tenure as anything other than this -- riding the coattails of Harbaugh's recruiting prowess and a few years of inertia borne of that excellence.


Seth Neumann
Registered user
Mountain View
on Nov 27, 2022 at 7:44 pm
Seth Neumann, Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 7:44 pm

I think "riding the coattails of Harbaugh's recruiting prowess and a few years of inertia borne of that excellence" is a little harsh. OTOH Fletcher Lange's comment about joining the Ivy League is spot on, but it would require lots of travel and travel expense what wouldn't be covered by lower TV revenues. I think we most likely slip out of top tier football and join something like a "Super WAC" with Cal and other programs that aren't "Power 5"


MyFeelz
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Nov 27, 2022 at 9:39 pm
MyFeelz, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Nov 27, 2022 at 9:39 pm

Can't remember who made a comment to me not too long ago in regards to how "progressive" Stanford is, for having a person of color coaching the team. Now that he's leaving, who will be their token POC champ?

And this, with a red banner, yet nothing about the death of an accomplished student and star athlete who was being disciplined for supporting a teammate on the women's soccer team, who had been allegedly assaulted by a football player. Killed herself after Stanford emailed her disciplinary notices with no opportunity to shore up support. Shades of Brock Turner in football gear. Protect the guilty, and put the fear of god into anyone who doesn't buy into that system. Parent's aren't buying it and in fact are filing a wrongful death suit.

There's more to both of these stories, which we may or may not hear about until 60 years later, with a public "oops" by Stanford's administrative wing. A phrase comes to mind: "You're only as sick as your secrets."


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2022 at 8:50 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 8:50 am

I see this as unwelcome news and an unfortunate development. This resignation is not likely to result in a successful football program; the resignation of the AD might. An 8:00 p.m. start? Opening game of men's basketball at 11:00 a.m. on a Monday? Reunion weekend sans football? Cutting 11 sports (w/less than 2 hours' notice to athletes and staff) on bogus grounds? 25-year run of winning the Directors' Cup ended? There have been some odd decisions in the last couple of years. I can easily imagine that Shaw was under pressure to deliver but not adequately supported.

Stanford has long been home to an impressive roster of student athletes. I hope that continues; the athletic program and the athletes are a significant part of what makes Stanford special.


Giselle Winslow
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 28, 2022 at 8:52 am
Giselle Winslow, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 8:52 am

With both UCLA and USC leaving the Pac-8/10/12 (or whatever) for the Big 10, Stanford will only have to contend with powerhouse Oregon.

It shouldn't be too difficult to compile a mediocre 6-6 overall record which automatically qualifies a team for a post season bowl appearance in some Podunk, USA venue.

Two consecutive 3-9 records are unacceptable in any college football program and it should be noted that this was a RESIGNATION and not a time-honored retirement.




staying home
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2022 at 9:51 am
staying home, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 9:51 am

Shaw was not the problem with Stanford football, but I don't know he was the right coach to move it forward. Watching the last season, you can visibly see the difference in him and the team compared to a few years ago. The energy and enthusiasm just wasn't there anymore.

Talent isn't and hasn't been the issue. Shaw recruited well, frequently having a top 20 recruiting class. What Harbaugh brought and Shaw continued to emphasize, was the concept that Stanford's education is an unrivaled benefit, not a detriment to the recruiting process. Ivy league may have a similar educational reputation, but remember Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships.

What changed is NIL and transfer portal. Without a competitive NIL portfolio, Stanford will have a hard time retaining top talent. Stanford also had only a single portal player on the roster. Compare that to USC, UO, and UW. In Shaw's post-game conference, he mentioned that the Stanford AD was looking to change on these issues, but we will be playing catch-up to the rest of the league. Add in the factors of injuries, Covid, and conference re-alignment and you can see why 3-9 might be the best possible outcome.

Thank you coach Shaw for the last 16 years.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 28, 2022 at 9:59 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 9:59 am

Sorry this has happened. I view this as a bigger problem with SU and how they have dealt with the Covid situation and on-campus activity which has been discouraged by SU. The overall running of the University as reported in the papers has been a discouragement overall. A positive campus is more for the students than the team and the campus has to provide incentives above and beyond the team sports. Hard to overcome all of the reported negatives.


Carole Pierce
Registered user
Professorville
on Nov 28, 2022 at 11:00 am
Carole Pierce, Professorville
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

An easier solution would be for Stanford to lower its admission standards for gifted athletes as many go on to the pros before completing their college educations anyway.

College football generates a lot of income but the team must be competitive and regularly play other top tier teams in order to garner recognition and recruitment advantages.

USC is a renowned private university but it lowers the academic bar for certain athletes who are capable of drawing big crowds and attracting national attention.

Stanford could easily do the same.


Tom from Midtown
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 28, 2022 at 1:06 pm
Tom from Midtown, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 1:06 pm

"Stanford is no match against powerhouse teams from Oregon, Washington, USC, and UCLA."

Sorry, but have you actually looked at the numbers? Under David Shaw:
v. Oregon - 6 wins, 6 losses (1 of the last 4, 3 of the last 6)
v. USC - 6 wins, 6 losses (2 of the last 4, 2 of the last 6)
v. UCLA - 9 wins, 3 losses (1 of the last 4, 3 of the last 6)
v. Washington - 7 wins, 5 losses (2 of the last 4, 3 of the last 6)

That looks like a pretty good match-up against these powerhouses to me. The last four seasons have been disappointing, to be sure, just as the previous 8 were outstanding (with 5 victories in 8 bowl games to show for it). My sense is that injuries played an outsized role in the last few years (not to mention COVID, which affected everyone) -- Stanford lost, if I'm correct, 3 of the starting 4 running backs during this season, forcing the offense to move to reliance on a passing attack that already lost the best wide receiver, Michael Willson, in the first game.

Stanford is able to recruit outstanding players ("43 players drafted, a total ranking tied for 13th nationally and tied for the most in the Pac-12") because these players want an outstanding education (and the degree that goes with it) along with the national exposure that only comes with a very high level of competition. Playing UC Davis will not get you those athletes.

Oh, and "coattails of Jim Harbaugh"?? You mean the Jim Harbaugh with a winning percentage of .580 at Stanford compared to .640 under Shaw. As for "a few years of inertia", are you referring to the 8 seasons after Harbaugh when Stanford went to bowl games? I think that merits a "gimme a break".

My 2 cents.


Nancy the real Nancy
Registered user
Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2022 at 2:57 pm
Nancy the real Nancy, Downtown North
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 2:57 pm

Let's be honest people, Shaw did indeed ride the coattails of what Harbaugh built. All of Shaw`s success came in the beginning of his head coaching career. There`s something called "Team Culture". Harbaugh built a "Badass Football Machine" and Shaw built a "Stanford Man". Each year you lose about 20 players to graduation, obviously over time the "Badass Football Machine" goes anyway if you don`t focus on it. We`ll it's great to build a "Stanford Man" if your job is a guidance counselor not so much if you are a FOOTBALL COACH.


Annies biped
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 28, 2022 at 3:07 pm
Annies biped, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Thank you Coach Shaw for being a terrific coach at Stanford for over a decade. Your empathy and humanity, as well as your deep understanding of the game of football and how it factors into the life of student athletes, especially at an academically emphasized school, have been inspirational. Your record speaks for itself. We wish you all the best in the next phase of your life.


staying home
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 28, 2022 at 3:38 pm
staying home, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 3:38 pm

you do realize that Shaw was the OC under Harbaugh? that Shaw had great success for the first 8 years after Harbaugh left?


Tom from Midtown
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 28, 2022 at 5:00 pm
Tom from Midtown, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 28, 2022 at 5:00 pm

My son passed this along and it certainly rings true:
"Best quote was an anonymous staffer: 'Coach Shaw is everything right about college football. But it’s not about being right, it’s about winning'.”

Yes, he had a huge lift from the 4 Harbaugh years, based on the recruits that Harbaugh brought in. That paid off in his last year, when Stanford went 12-1, winning the Orange Bowl; in previous years his best was 8-5. Harbaugh made us believe that Stanford could actually field a first-class football team. Having been a student, undergrad and grad, for the better part of 10 years at Stanford, I can tell you how incredible it felt to breathe that rarified air. But then Harbaugh left, and it could so easily have "regressed to the mean", in so many senses. Shaw kept it going, built on it. In many ways, I think, he helped to raise the bar for what we thought we could -- and should? -- do. In the end (inevitably? I don't think so, but it's a good debate) he succumbed to his own success, and failed too many times to get back over that bar. In the end, it was time to go.

Fare well wherever you fare, David Shaw.


Chris G Zaharias
Registered user
another community
on Nov 29, 2022 at 7:38 am
Chris G Zaharias, another community
Registered user
on Nov 29, 2022 at 7:38 am

Thanks for all the good times, coach!


Lars Johansen
Registered user
Stanford
on Nov 29, 2022 at 9:58 am
Lars Johansen, Stanford
Registered user
on Nov 29, 2022 at 9:58 am

Everything is cyclical. Over the past several decades, Stanford has had some really good football teams and at other times, less than stellar ones.

This season, Stanford beat nationally ranked Notre Dame who in turn defeated former AP Top #5 Clemson.

Could Stanford have beaten Clemson with an upset victory?

The other scheduled games left much to be desired and losing the Big Game to Old Blue is always distasteful.

Coach Shaw had a successful tenure as head coach but it is obvious that his heart is no longer in the game.


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 3, 2022 at 2:01 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Dec 3, 2022 at 2:01 pm

Tv news said 10+ players looking to transfer after losing season. So gee, I guess a free Stanford education isn’t worth much to these “student athletes.”
Time to make it an extra -curricular activity, or stop pretending these are students.


john_alderman
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 3, 2022 at 4:17 pm
john_alderman, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 3, 2022 at 4:17 pm

@Lars Johansen - "Everything is cyclical."

I reject this - it assumes no agency. Look at USC, one good hire and they go from mediocre to title contender. Stanford chose to stick with Shaw because they valued something more the winning. Reality is, you can win and be a decent person and have high character players, you just need to get the right staff to build it.


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