As the Denver Broncos continue their search for a head coach, the organization is casting a wide net and leaving no stone unturned. Mike Klis of 9News reported on January 11 that the Broncos interviewed former Stanford football head coach David Shaw.
After 16 seasons at Stanford, 12 as the head coach, Shaw said at the end of the 2022 season that it was time to step away.
“I’m not burnt out by any stretch of the imagination. I’m healthy and feel good, but at the same time, 16 years it’s a long time,” Shaw said during November 27 press conference. “I’m so proud of our accomplishments, so proud of our student-athletes, so proud of the guys that have gone on and done other things in the NFL and outside of the NFL and different walks of life. Like I said, the phrase that just kept coming back to me that gave me peace which was, ‘It’s time.'”
Before heading to college coaching, Shaw spent nine seasons (1997-2005) in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens. Adam Schefter noted in a January 11 tweet that Shaw was interested in returning to the NFL level.
David Shaw’s Coaching Accolades at Stanford
Shaw leaves Standford as the longest-tenured head coach and accumulated a 96-54 record. His .640 winning percentage ranks third all-time, and he has the most bowl wins in school history. Shaw was also awarded Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017.
If the Broncos are looking for their next head coach to have proven success, Shaw fits the criteria. Not only is he a winning coach, but he builds excellent relationships with his players. San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffery, who had Shaw as his head coach during his entire collegiate career, spoke about Shaw’s legacy as a coach and leader.
“He’s a legend, man. He’s done so much for that program and me personally. Can’t say enough good words about him as a coach,” McCaffery said November 27 during a locker room interview. “A lot of us who are playing in the NFL who played for him have so much respect for him, and he’s touched a lot of hard stuff on his mind, so I’m proud of him and happy for him. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”
Shaw has developed several players into top-flight talent, with six players drafted in the first round and seven players drafted in the second round during his tenure. Notable names include McCaffery, Andrew Luck, Soloman Thomas, Andrus Peat and Zach Ertz. Former coaches who spent time at Stanford, including Bill Walsh and Jim Harbaugh, also rumored to be in consideration, have had success at the NFL level.
General manager George Paton mentioned in the press conference after firing Nathaniel Hackett that their next head coach needs to be involved in all facets of the team, not just one side of the ball.
“I think it’s really important that whoever we hire has a relationship with the quarterback, Russ, whoever are the backups, but the entire offense as well, the entire defense,” Paton said. “We need someone to fix the special teams. Really, all three phases is what we want our coach to be an expert in, not just one person.”
If that’s true, Shaw’s track record of developing talent across different positions should appeal to what the Broncos ownership is looking for.
The Broncos Connection With Stanford University Favors Shaw
Being affiliated with Stanford University is familiar to the Denver Broncos. The face of the franchise, quarterback John Elway, is a Stanford alumn and part of the Broncos ownership group is also connected to the university.
Condoleezza Rice is Stanford’s current director of the Hoover Institute. CEO Greg Penner and his wife Carrie Penner also have “strong ties” to Stanford, earning their MBAs from the school’s Graduate School of Business.
It remains to be seen if having existing ties to the organization play in Shaw’s favor. One thing is for sure; some individuals who have worked with Shaw in the past would be excited to see the coach get an opportunity at the position.