Stanford head coach David Shaw has resigned after 12 seasons at his alma mater.
Shaw announced his decision to step down, effective immediately, after Saturday night’s 36-25 loss to BYU in Stanford’s season finale.
“I prayed about it, I thought about it,” Shaw said. “With every hour it seemed, it was more cemented in my head. The phrase that kept coming to me is: ‘It’s time.'”
Shaw, 50, said he had not considered resigning until earlier this past week and said he has no desire to coach another team at this point.
“I am not burnt out,” he said. “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 steps down as the winningest head coach in Stanford history with 96 career victories. His resignation comes after back-to-back 3-9 seasons and a stretch since 2019 where the Cardinal have gone 14-28.
Stanford is 3-16 in Pac-12 play the past two seasons, including consecutive losses to rival California.
“There are a lot of people that think this program is down. 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 that I’m hearing coming from our athletic director, from our university president, the people that are behind the scenes. We’re not that far away.”
“I would like to thank David for his immense contributions to Stanford,” athletic director Bernard Muir said in a statement. “David has represented Stanford football, as both a player and a coach, with unwavering grace, humility and integrity. He has cared tremendously for each and every student-athlete in his program while helping them pursue their full academic and athletic potential. David will forever remain a valued member of the Stanford football family and an integral part of the storied history of the program. I hope Cardinal fans everywhere will join me in thanking David and his family for their extraordinary years of service and wishing them all the best in their next chapter.”
Shaw, who played wide receiver for the Cardinal from 1991 to 1994, has been part of Stanford’s coaching staff since 2007. He first began as an offensive coordinator for four seasons before being promoted to the head-coaching job in 2011 after Jim Harbaugh departed 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 victories, as well as three Pac-12 titles — and four Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards — during that span.
Shaw expressed 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 historically doesn’t change quickly,” he said. “We are methodical. … It’s been difficult, but it’s been difficult for everybody.”
Shaw said the transfer portal “will be very enticing” 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 responded when asked what it will take for Stanford to bounce back. “And it’s not going to be immediate.”
The school stated it will immediately begin a national search to find a new coach.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.