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 the Stanford season finale.
“I’ve prayed about it, I’ve thought about it,” Shaw said. “With every hour it seemed, it got more stuck in my head. The phrase that kept coming to my mind is, ‘It’s time.'”
Shaw, 50, said he had not considered stepping down until earlier this week, saying he has no desire to coach another team at the moment.
“I’m not burned out,” he said. “I’m healthy; I feel good. But 16 years is a long time. … 16 years running a program, 16 years being responsible for everything and everyone catches up to you.”
Shaw resigns as the winningest head coach in Stanford history with a career-high 96 wins. His sacking comes after back-to-back 3-9 seasons and a stretch since 2019 where the Cardinal has gone 14-28.
Stanford is 3-16 in Pac-12 play over the past two seasons, including consecutive losses to rival California.
“There are a lot of people who think this program doesn’t work. That’s what our record says,” said Shaw, who finished with a Stanford record of 96-54. “But I’m looking at the components. I’m looking at the people here, the support I hear coming from our athletic director, from our university president, the people behind the scenes. We’re not that far off.”
“I want to thank David for his tremendous contributions to Stanford,” athletic director Bernard Muir said in a statement. “David has represented Stanford Football, both as a player and as a coach, with unwavering grace, humility and integrity. He has cared immensely for every student-athlete in his program as he helped them pursue their full academic and athletic potential. David will do so forever remain a valued member of the Stanford football family and an integral part of the program’s storied history I hope Cardinal fans everywhere will join me in thanking David and his family for their extraordinary years of service and giving them the best wishes in their next chapter.”
Shaw, who was wide receiver for the Cardinal from 1991 to 1994, has been a member of Stanford’s coaching staff since 2007. He started as 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 succeed. During 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 said on Saturday how difficult the new college football landscape, with NIL and the transfer portal, has been for Stanford, but he did not acknowledge that was a reason for his departure.
“Stanford doesn’t change very quickly historically,” he said. “We’re methodical. … It’s been hard, but it’s been hard for everyone.”
Shaw said the transfer portal “will be very attractive” to current Stanford players upon his departure. Asked if he believes Stanford can return to the level it was at when he first took the job, Shaw said yes.
“Growth,” Shaw replied when asked what it would take for Stanford to return. “And it won’t be immediately.”
The school stated that it will immediately launch a national search to find a new coach.
This report uses information from The Associated Press.