- Associated Press - Thursday, January 13, 2011

STANFORD, CALIF. (AP) - If David Shaw has his way, he will never have to interview for another football coaching job. He is right where he has always felt he belonged: Stanford.

A head college coach at age 38, Shaw is ready to turn Stanford into a football powerhouse despite its tough academic standards.

“Since the day I started coaching, this is the job I always knew that I wanted,” Shaw said. “Today’s finally the day.”

Shaw arrived as an assistant on the Stanford coaching staff with Jim Harbaugh four years ago with the task of rebuilding a one-win team.

He was promoted Thursday to replace Harbaugh and maintain the Cardinal’s place as a national contender following their most successful season in decades.

“We’ve got a good football team. We’ve got a team that’s tough, that’s physical, that’s eager to pick up where we left off,” Shaw said during his introductory news conference. “Our schemes are going to be the same. It’s going to be very similar. We’re going to be aggressive on defense. We’re going to get after people on defense. We’re going to be aggressive on offense.”

Shaw won out over fellow assistants Greg Roman and Vic Fangio, among others, to take over the program less than a week after Harbaugh left to become coach of the San Francisco 49ers last Friday.

Athletic director Bob Bowlsby said he interviewed four in-house candidates and had lengthy conversations with three others from outside the program.

“His contribution to the current state of affairs of our football program is immeasurable,” Bowlsby said of Shaw. “It has been an interesting and exciting fall. This is, in my estimation, the most logical step that we can take. Having David Shaw take over the football program at this university speaks volumes about Stanford. I think it speaks volumes about the experience student-athletes have. … He is the guy who is going to lead Stanford football for a long, long time.”

Shaw could have to replace much of the coaching staff as Harbaugh is interested in bringing Fangio, Roman and others with him to the NFL. Shaw acknowledged there would be changes but wouldn’t elaborate.

The job Shaw inherits is a much more desirable one than Harbaugh took over after Stanford went 1-11 in 2006 under Walt Harris.

The Cardinal improved each season under Harbaugh, making a bowl game in his third year and going 12-1 this past season, capped by a 40-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. That helped Stanford finish fourth in the final AP poll, its best ranking since the unbeaten 1940 team finished No. 2.

“Take the 2010 season _ outstanding, phenomenal _ we’re going to put it in a box. We’re going to put a ribbon on it, we’re going to put it up on a shelf for everybody to admire,” Shaw said. “We’re going to let everybody else admire and talk about how great it was. Our goals are not that. We’re not done yet. We did not win our conference. Oregon did that. Now, going into the new era of the Pac-12. We have the desire to be the first Pac-12 champions.”

The Orange Bowl trophy was on display for Shaw’s formal introduction, a day before some 20 recruits will be on campus for visits. It was important for Bowlsby to get the head coach in place before this key recruiting period.

Expectations will be high again next season following last week’s decision by Heisman Trophy runner-up and Orange Bowl MVP quarterback Andrew Luck to return for another season.

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