Stanford Names David Shaw as Jim Harbaugh’s Successor

Stanford University didn’t have to look far to find a replacement for recently departed head coach Jim Harbaugh. The university on Thursday announced that offensive coordinator David Shaw has been promoted to lead the ascendant football program.

“David has the experience, intellect, coaching skills and organizational abilities to be a tremendous head coach,” said Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby via the university’s athletic Web site. “He understands the combination of world class academics and world class athletics that is required at Stanford.”

Shaw spent the previous four seasons as the Cardinal’s offensive coordinator, but his relationship to the university goes back much farther. His father, Willie Shaw, was the team’s offensive coordinator between 1974-1976 and 1989-1991. David was a four-year letterman at the university, from 1991-1995, catching 57 balls and scoring five touchdowns as a wide receiver. He also briefly ran track and played basketball before graduating with a degree in sociology. Shaw, who was coached by Dennis Green in 1991, follows Green and Tyrone Willingham as the only African-Americans to lead the Stanford football program.

The promotion makes Shaw arguably the most visible Black head coach in college football. The Cardinals are expected to contend for a national title in 2011 after ending the 2010 season ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll. Quarterback Andrew Luck, the consensus top overall pick had he chosen to enter the NFL draft, instead elected to return to Palo Alto for his junior season. Luck is widely viewed as the best quarterback in the nation and is the early favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in 2011.

“He’s a Stanford man,” says Luck about Shaw. “He’s going to do a wonderful job with this program and the players are behind him 100 percent.”