The day David Shaw became Stanford’s coach almost two years ago, he said he never wanted to interview for another football job again. He walked out of his first news conference and up to his new office, where he spent about 90 minutes reflecting with his father, Willie Shaw, who had lost out on the same position to Bill Walsh two decades prior.
“There was a tear or two shed in there,” Willie Shaw said.
At the rate his son is going, job security no longer seems to be an issue. Instead, Shaw will likely have suitors calling from all over soon — though he still insists he’s not going anywhere.
The former Cardinal wide receiver and assistant has not only kept his alma mater a national power, he has started to build his own legacy on the Farm. Shaw won the Pac-12 Conference’s Coach of the Year award for the second straight season Monday, becoming only the fourth coach in league history to take home the honor in consecutive years.
Shaw also has a chance to do something even his more prominent predecessor, Jim Harbaugh, never could: Win the league title and secure a Rose Bowl berth when eighth-ranked Stanford (10-2, 8-1) hosts No. 17 UCLA (9-3, 6-3) in the Pac-12 championship game Friday.
“Very seldom do you get to see somebody live their dream, whether they’re your son or not,” Willie Shaw said. “He’s living that dream.”
While Harbaugh turned Stanford into a surprising contender, Shaw’s steady hand has kept the program going strong since the 49ers hired Harbaugh away in January 2011.
Shaw led the Cardinal to an 11-1 record before a 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in last season’s Fiesta Bowl.
This year has perhaps been even more impressive: Shaw helped Stanford overcome the departure of No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck, seamlessly made a midseason quarterback change from Josh Nunes to redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan and overtook Oregon to win the league’s North Division crown.
Shaw’s relentless recruiting also has put Stanford in position to contend in the Pac-12 — and perhaps even more — for the next several years with a roster stacked with underclassmen who are already key contributors.