Stanford Head coach David Shaw has resigned after 12 seasons at his alma mater.
Shaw announced his decision to step down, effective immediately, following Saturday night’s 36-25 loss to BYU in Stanford’s season finale.
“I prayed about it, I thought about it,” Shaw said. “With each hour, it seemed like it was more cemented in my head. The phrase that kept coming back to me was, ‘It’s time’.”
Shaw, 50, said he hadn’t considered quitting until early last week and said he had no desire to coach another team at this stage.
“I’m not exhausted,” he said. “I’m healthy, I feel good. But 16 years is a long time. … 16 years running a program, 16 years being in charge of everything and everyone is catching up with you.”
Shaw steps down as the winningest head coach in Stanford history with 96 career wins. His resignation comes after 3-9 straight seasons and a streak since 2019 where the Cardinal went 14-28.
Stanford is 3-16 in the Pac-12 over the past two seasons, including back-to-back losses to rival California.
“There are a lot of people who think this program is broken. That’s what our record says,” said Shaw, who finished with a 96-54 record at Stanford. “But I look at the components. I look at the people here, the support I hear from our athletic director, from our college president, the people behind the scenes. We’re not that far away.”
“I would like to thank David for his immense contributions to Stanford,” sporting director Bernard Muir said in a statement. “David represented Stanford football, both as a player and a coach, with unwavering grace, humility and integrity. He cared immensely about every student-athlete in his program while helping them pursue their full academic and athletic potential. will forever remain a treasured member of the Stanford football family and an integral part of the program’s rich history. I hope Cardinal fans everywhere will join me in thanking David and his family. for their extraordinary years of service and wishing them the best in their lives. Next chapter.”
Shaw, who played catcher for the Cardinal from 1991 to 1994, has been on Stanford’s coaching staff since 2007. He first started as an offensive coordinator for four seasons before being promoted to head coach. in 2011 after Jim Harbaugh left for the NFL.
It didn’t take long for Shaw to pull it off. In his first four seasons, he led Stanford to three Rose Bowls, including two wins, as well as three Pac-12 titles — and four Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards — during that span.
Shaw expressed on Saturday how difficult the new landscape of college football, with NIL and the transfer portal, was for Stanford, but he did not acknowledge that was a reason for his departure.
“Historically, Stanford doesn’t change quickly,” he said. “We’re methodical. … It’s been tough, but it’s been tough for everyone.”
Shaw said the transfer portal “will be very attractive” to current Stanford players when he leaves. When asked if he thought Stanford could return to the level he was at when he first took the job, Shaw said yes.
“Growth,” Shaw replied when asked what it would take for Stanford to bounce back. “And it won’t be immediate.”
The school said it would immediately begin a nationwide search to find a new coach.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.