- Associated Press - Thursday, January 13, 2011

STANFORD, CALIF. (AP) - David 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, a team that’s tough, physical and eager to pick up where we left off,” Shaw said during his introductory news conference. “Our schemes are going to be the same. We’re going to be very similar. We’re going to be aggressive 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.

“His contribution to the current state of affairs of our football program is immeasurable,” athletic director Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “It has been an interesting and exciting fall. This is, in my estimation, the most logical step we can take. This speaks volumes about Stanford and the experience student-athletes have.”

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.

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.

The Orange Bowl trophy was on display for Shaw’s formal introduction, a day before some 20 recruits will be on campus for visits.

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.

“We’ve got a pretty good quarterback you might have heard of,” Shaw said.

Luck set school records for TD passes (32), completion percentage (70.7 percent) and passing efficiency (170.2) this season. With him at quarterback, the Cardinal are expected to be highly ranked again next season.

“As far as what Stanford needs, we’re not going to miss a beat,” cornerback Michael Thomas said. “He knows Stanford. He knows the system. The offense will be the same and he said he will run the same defense. We knew coach Shaw would be a great head coach. We’re ready for the next chapter.”

Shaw is the son of Willie Shaw, a former Stanford and longtime NFL assistant. David was a receiver at Stanford from 1991-94 under Dennis Green and Bill Walsh.

“I will do what I can to help this place be successful,” Shaw said. “We’re not done yet. … Two years of good football is not enough.”

Shaw was an assistant in the NFL for Philadelphia, Oakland and Baltimore, before joining Harbaugh as an assistant at the University of San Diego. As passing game coordinator and receivers coach, he helped lead the Toreros to an 11-1 record and the top marks in what was then Division I-AA in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense.

He joined Harbaugh at Stanford the following year and has coached receivers and running backs, while also serving as offensive coordinator the past four years.

“This is the job I always knew that I wanted,” Shaw said. “The day is finally there.”

The Cardinal showed immediate improvement, winning four games in 2007 and five the following season, before breaking through with Luck and 2009 Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart last season.

Stanford set a single-season scoring record with 461 points in 2009 and topped that with 524 this season.

The Cardinal lose three starting offensive linemen, fullback Owen Marecic and leading receivers Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whalen. But they have plenty of other key offensive players returning including 1,000-yard rusher Stepfan Taylor, running back Anthony Wilkerson, speedy receiver Chris Owusu and tight end Coby Fleener.

David Shaw is exactly the right person to lead our football program at this time,” Bowlsby said. “David has the experience, intellect, coaching skills and organizational abilities to be a tremendous head coach. He understands and embraces the combination of world class academics and world class athletics that is required at Stanford.”


AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

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