Stanford head coach and alumnus David Shaw takes pride in his alma mater.
"I am an alum, and I'm unbelievably biased," he said at Pac-12 media day in July. "[Stanford] is just a phenomenal place."
Shaw is also committed to continuing to build on the already impressive reconstruction that grew Stanford from a conference bottom feeder to BCS championship contender. He reiterated this point speaking with MMQB.com's Peter King.
Shaw has an NFL background. He spent nine seasons as a professional assistant with three different franchises before joining Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego in 2006.
His efforts as offensive coordinator under Harbaugh produced two different Heisman Trophy finalists in Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck. Since Shaw became head coach, the Cardinal have boasted one of the best defenses in college football.
With Harbaugh and former assistant Pep Hamilton in the NFL—Harbaugh thriving as head coach of the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, and Hamilton overseeing the Indianapolis Colts offense—Shaw following suit only seems logical.
Stanford's impact on the NFL is undeniable. Along with the coaches, the program has produced several pro standouts, including cornerback Richard Sherman.
A fifth round selection, has quickly become one of the league's most celebrated young stars.
The pipeline from Palo Alto to the pros should only grow in the coming years. Stanford's recent success on the field has translated to the recruiting trail, where the Cardinal scored the nation's No. 5 recruiting class in 2012 and has the No. 22 ranked crop of 2014 verbal commitments, according to Rivals.com.
"We tried to build a program and build a team that year-to-year was going to be competitive," he said at media day. "The fact that we went to three BCS games, that's kind of our expectation."
First-year NFL coaches typically are offered vacancies because a franchise struggled. Recent college coaches to make the NFL jump inherited teams in disarray.
- Tampa Bay went 4-12 before Greg Schiano was hired.
- Chip Kelly inherited 4-12 Philadelphia.
- The Buffalo Bills were 6-10 before Doug Marrone was hired.
- San Francisco was 6-10 the season prior to Harbaugh's arrival.
Taking on an NFL job often means leading a rebuilding project. At Stanford, Shaw has a program competing for a championship.
"We've been a contender. We've been there. We plan on being there...next year, and the next year, and the next year," Shaw said.
Shaw may not be in the NFL, but he is influencing it. In a way, he is experiencing the best of both worlds.
Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer. All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kensing45.