This guy is a great coach and IF Miami ever looked up to get another HC, Ross would have to call this guy, but he is very happy at Standford and it is not about the money for him as well as he has stated it being more fulfilling to coach the breed of kids at Stanford vs going back into NFL coaching. He wasn't a head coach in the NFL, but he was around it close enough to know what he wants or doesn't want.
If you were to draw up the perfect NFL head coaching candidate, it would be Stanford’s David Shaw.
His father, Willie, was a legendary NFL assistant and defensive coordinator for the Rams, Raiders and Vikings. David played receiver for Bill Walsh and Denny Green at Stanford, and later worked with and for some of football’s brightest minds—Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, Rex Ryan and Jim Harbaugh—as an NFL assistant from 1997 to 2005.
Now in the middle of his third season as head coach of the Cardinal, Shaw has posted a 31-5 record and beaten Oregon in convincing fashion for two straight seasons, including a 26-20 victory on Nov. 7. Last season he led Stanford to its first Pac 12 conference in 13 years and to its first Rose Bowl victory in 41 years. Beyond his record, he’s a genuine person and a trusted leader who would win out in an NFL interview competition.
And yet there’s virtually no chance that Shaw, a Stanford alum who married his wife on the university’s campus, will seek any NFL offers.
“I have no desire to get back into the NFL,” Shaw told The MMQB in June. “You can’t buy it from me. It’s not money; I’m making good money. I love where I am now, the kids that we’re coaching. We’re producing some of the finest young people on the planet. Every year we’re turning those guys loose on society, and I feel really, really good about that. I think I’m a pretty smart guy, but I’m not the smartest guy in the room. That’s exciting to me. I’m around some guys who are brilliant, who will do great things in this world and I love to be surrounded by that.”
Stanford coach David Shaw (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Stanford coach David Shaw (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
But what about an NFL itch that has lured some of college football’s best, like Nick Saban and Chip Kelly? Shaw said he’s already scratched it, first from moving so many times as a child when his father switched coaching jobs, and then later in his own career.
“I understand the desire to coach the best players in the world, and if you’ve never done it, there’s that desire to prove yourself,” Shaw said. “You say, ‘I wonder if I can coach at the highest level? I believe I can,’ but you don’t know until you do it. I completely get that. I’ve done it. I’ve worked with Hall of Fame guys, All-Pro guys, great players, a couple championship games. For me, I don’t have that ‘what if.’ I know what it feels like. And I’ve got my Jerry Rice and Tim Brown pictures; coaching Rich Gannon was one of the high points of my career. I just don’t have that ‘what if.’ Been there, enjoyed it, loved it—love where I am now.”
The truth is, there aren’t many places in all of football like Stanford.
One of the iconic structures at Stanford is the soaring Herbert Hoover Tower, named after the 31st President, who was part of Stanford’s first class in 1891. It houses part of the Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank that boasts former high-profile government officials such as Condoleezza Rice, George Shultz, Edwin Meese and retired Army general John Abizaid as fellows.
All 32 Coverage
You can now easily check out all of The MMQB's stories on your favorite team by using the handy pull-down menu on our archive page.
If Shaw has his way, the Arrillaga Family Sports Center will host the football equivalent. How many other places have 68-year-old Ron Lynn, who was a defensive coordinator for four different pro teams and an assistant for another three, providing assistance as the director of player development? Or Willie Shaw occasionally giving a chalk talk? Or former Stanford and Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham—among others—dropping by to speak to the team? How many college programs have 15 players with NFL bloodlines? That’s the ultimate stamp of approval, when former NFL players such as Barry Sanders, Tom Carter, Todd Peat, Ed Reynolds, Sam Seal, Jeff Davison and Bob Whitfield send their sons to mature into players and men under your watch.
Players are attracted to Stanford because it’s one of very few schools with both a pro-style offense (West Coast) and defense (3-4 zone blitz)—and it doesn’t skimp on the volume. Offensive coordinator and O-line coach Mike Bloomgren came to the Cardinal after four years in the NFL as a Jets assistant. He was blown away by the depth of Stanford’s playbooks and concepts.
“We thought we carried a lot of volume in New York,” Bloomgren said. “And then you come here and it’s at least as much. I didn’t know you could do this at the college level.”
The Cardinal doesn’t take a shortcut on the verbiage either. They use the same long playcalls that continue to be a staple of Walsh’s time-honored offense.
“Do we ever, holy cow,” Bloomgren said, reaching back into his cubicle. “Let me grab a game plan here … just have to look for a call that’s really small font. This one isn’t that long: zebra personnel; snug right switch shift to gun gold right 22 jet stay double knight u whip kill 33 jet alert 800 jet buzzer.
“I think it takes great teachers, which obviously the staff is full of, and it takes kids that are intelligent and can retain the information. Because you have half the meeting time you do in the NFL. It’s a big deal.”
Stanford beat Oregon, 26-20, on Nov. 7 for the second time in as many seasons. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Stanford beat Oregon, 26-20, on Nov. 7 for the second time in as many seasons. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
David Shaw wants to continue to attract NFL-related people, especially coaches. He can do that despite being in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country because Stanford has built and purchased homes to house coaches in all sports, and because the football coaches are paid well and work reasonable, non-NFL hours. In the often cruel world of football, Stanford is an oasis.
“If I could freeze things exactly how they are right now, with everybody here,” said Bloomgren, “I would do it in a second. I love it here.”
That’s not likely to happen; NFL front offices know what’s going on at Stanford. While nearly all college coordinators who go on to the NFL do so as position coaches, the Cardinal’s previous two offensive coordinators, Greg Roman and Pep Hamilton, were give the same job title by the 49ers and Colts, respectively. The last two Stanford defensive coordinators, Vic Fangio and Jason Tarver, also made the same jump to the pros (to the 49ers and Raiders; Fangio had been an NFL D-coordinator three times previously).
If anyone on the Stanford staff goes to the NFL next season, it’ll probably be defensive coordinator Derek Mason. He was consulted by several pro teams this offseason about stopping the read-option, and considering how college offensive schemes are now flooding the NFL, why wouldn’t an NFL head coach consider hiring the former Vikings assistant to be his defensive coordinator?
Mason says “there’s no place I’d rather be” than Stanford, but Shaw isn’t so sure he’ll be able to keep him in the oasis. “There’s a chance somebody’s going to pluck Coach Mason to either be a college head coach or an NFL coordinator or an NFL head coach,” Shaw said. “He’s got that trajectoryhttp://mmqb.si.com/2013/11/08/nfl-week- ... eg-bedard/