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David Shaw Resigns as Stanford HC; Finishes as Winningest HC in Program's History

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVNovember 27, 2022

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Head Coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal waits to enter the stadium before an NCAA college football game against the BYU Cougars on November 26, 2022 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
David Madison/Getty Images

Stanford football coach David Shaw announced his resignation Saturday, ending the most successful tenure in program history.

"After many prayers and multiple discussions with my wife, one phrase keeps coming to me - it's time," Shaw said in a statement. "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 went 96-54 over the course of 12 seasons at his alma mater, setting the all-time record for wins in program history. The 50-year-old began his career with a stretch of unprecedented success, with the Cardinal reeling off eight straight winning seasons and reaching a New Year's Six game four times.

However, the program has fallen off significantly over the last four seasons. Shaw leaves after going a combined 14-28 since 2019, including back-to-back 3-9 campaigns.

Once considered a hot candidate for NFL head-coaching jobs, Shaw says he has no immediate plans to continue coaching.

"I am not burnt out," Shaw told reporters. "I'm healthy; I feel good. But 16 years is a long time. ... 16 years of running a program, 16 years of being responsible for everything and everybody catches up to you."

Shaw came to Stanford in 2007 to serve as the offensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh. He was named head coach when Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers after the 2010 season, continuing the upward trajectory that began during the Harbaugh era. Stanford won three Pac-12 titles in Shaw's first five seasons and peaked in 2015, finishing as the third-ranked team in the country.

While Shaw drew praise for doing less with more—Stanford's high academic requirements can create issues in recruiting—the program has lagged behind in an era of transfers and NIL endorsements.

"Stanford historically doesn't change quickly," Shaw said. "We are methodical. ... It's been difficult, but it's been difficult for everybody."

Shaw previously spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles, Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens before coming to Stanford. It would not be a surprise to see him eventually land an NFL coaching position, though he's not going to be at the top of as many lists as he would have been four or five years ago.