Stanford Football head Coaches
Shaw is a firmer believer in the use of virtual reality to help Stanford football
Shaw is so sold on virtual reality that he’s become an investor in STRIVR. It’s all part of Shaw’s plan to help his alma mater. But Shaw’s original plan wasn’t even to be a football coach. Growing up as the son of Willie Shaw, a defensive coach in college football and in the NFL for over 30 years, Shaw decided he didn’t want to be a coach. But after his playing career as a wide receiver at Stanford was completed, Shaw took a coaching job.
“My dad as a football coach, he was a teacher. To watch his enjoyment for when someone else had success and being a part of that success for someone else, ” Shaw said. “I grew up watching that and, quite frankly, I didn’t want to be a part of it. I had no desire to coach. I was going to do something else. But when I graduated, I got a chance at Western Washington University to start a career. For me, it was just going to be a job. A one-year thing to see how it goes. And I loved it. I enjoyed it. They were great to me there and learned a lot, but first day on the job I knew that was what I was going to do.”
Shaw learned from an impressive group of coaches, including Bill Walsh, Jon Gruden, Jim Harbaugh and Brian Billick. Shaw quickly rose up the coaching ranks, and took over as Stanford head coach in his 30s when Harbaugh left for the 49ers.
“The process was a short process, ” Shaw said of landing the Stanford head coaching job. “I think shorter than Stanford would’ve liked at the time. We had a big recruiting weekend — every recruit that had committed was coming in that weekend, so we had one week to get this done. [Stanford athletic director] Bob Bowlsby set up a few interviews, some on campus, some off campus so there were a bunch of different people. For me, I had gone through one round of interviews at a different university so I had a little big of experience about the interview, but the biggest thing for me was that I knew Stanford. The second biggest thing for me was that I knew the building, and I knew the people. Both the people on the field, the people behind the scenes, I knew the people. I understood them and I could work with them … I think Bob Bowlsby and I were right in step from the very beginning. He believed in the vision I had for the program, and a short time later I was named the head coach.”
Stanford is a dream job for Shaw, since it is his alma mater after all. While some coaches might be turned off by Stanford’s high academic standards, Shaw isn’t intimated.
“For me, it’s such a good fit in that I’m academically oriented, and Stanford of course is as well, ” Shaw said. “We’re never going to draw the line between athletics and academics at Stanford. We’re going to merge those things and do them as well as anyone has ever done them. That’s just our mentality. So for me, it was such a good fit. I think the character of the place is important, as well as the academics, as well as the athletics and tying all those things together. We talk all the time about recruiting, and it’s not just about finding the guys that run the fastest. It’s about fitting who we are on the field, in the classroom and walking around town. People that fit what Stanford’s all about. That’s what we’ve been able to do.”The evening concluded with questions from the questions from the crowd
Shaw’s at home in Stanford, and he doesn’t plan on leaving the Cardinal. Despite rumors that Shaw has drawn interest from other schools and the NFL, he said he’s not interested in leaving.
“Honestly, I never talked to anybody from 49ers, ” Shaw said when asked about reportedly being offered the 49ers job. “No job was ever offered, there’s never been a process. Every year, I look at the rumors … The coaching rumor mill, it goes crazy every year. I can say without hesitation and 100 percent honesty since I’ve taken this job, I have not interviewed for another job from anybody else, have not talked to anybody about any jobs. And I don’t plan to.”
As for next season, Shaw has high expectations once again. And he’s hoping virtual reality will help his team achieve those expectations.
“We’ve done this multiple times for different things and as long as it doesn’t disrupt our practice, we’ll take a look at it, ” Shaw said. “We shot a few plays, and then once they put it together and I put it on, I said ‘Well, this is now a completely different game.’ It was exciting and changed how players can prepare for the game … I’m really excited about what VR’s going to do and in sports in general, particular in football. But I think in all sports in general over the next five-to-seven years. I think it’s going to be really, really exciting.”
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