Stanford promotes assistant Shaw to head coach

Published Jan. 13, 2011 10:00 a.m. ET

AP Sports Writer

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) --
David Shaw arrived as an assistant on the Stanford coaching staff with Jim Harbaugh four years ago with the task of rebuilding a one-win team.

Shaw was hired Thursday to replace Harbaugh and maintain the Cardinal's place as a national contender following their most successful season in decades.

Shaw won out over fellow assistants Greg Roman and Vic Fangio among others to take over the program less than a week after Harbaugh left to become coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

"David has made a substantial contribution to the recent success of our program and our team has great confidence in him," athletic director Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. "I could not be more excited to work with David and to assist him and his staff in leading our football program to high achievement in the years ahead."

Shaw could have to replace much of the coaching staff as Harbaugh is interested in bringing Fangio, Roman and others with him to the NFL.

The job Shaw inherits is a much more desirable one than Harbaugh took over after Stanford went 1-11 in 2006 under Walt Harris.

The Cardinal improved each season under Harbaugh, making a bowl game in his third year and going 12-1 this past season, capped by a 40-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. That helped Stanford finish fourth in the final AP poll, its best ranking since the unbeaten 1940 team finished No. 2.

Expectations will be high again next year following last week's decision by Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck to return for another season on the Farm.

Luck set school records for TD passes (32), completion percentage (70.7 percent) and passing efficiency (170.2) this season. With him at quarterback, the Cardinal are expected to be highly ranked again next season.

Shaw is the son of former Stanford and longtime NFL assistant coach Willie Shaw. David was a receiver at Stanford from 1991-94 under Dennis Green and Bill Walsh.

Shaw was an assistant in the NFL for Philadelphia, Oakland and Baltimore, before joining Harbaugh as an assistant at the University of San Diego. As passing game coordinator and receivers coach, he helped lead the Toreros to an 11-1 record and the top marks in what was then Division I-AA in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense.

He joined Harbaugh at Stanford the following year and has coached receivers and running backs, while also serving as offensive coordinator during the past four years.

The Cardinal showed immediate improvement, winning four games in 2007 and five the following season, before breaking through with Luck and 2009 Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart last season.

Stanford set a single-season scoring record with 461 points in 2009 and topped that with 524 this season.

The Cardinal lose three starting offensive linemen, fullback Owen Marecic and leading receivers Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whalen. But they have plenty of other key offensive players returning including 1,000-yard rusher Stepfan Taylor, running back Anthony Wilkerson, speedy receiver Chris Owusu and tight end Coby Fleener.

"David Shaw is exactly the right person to lead our football program at this time," Bowlsby said. "David has the experience, intellect, coaching skills and organizational abilities to be a tremendous head coach. He understands and embraces the combination of world class academics and world class athletics that is required at Stanford."