BRONCOS

Two days after interviewing Jim Harbaugh, Denver Broncos interview his Stanford successor, David Shaw

Jan 11, 2023, 9:03 PM | Updated: 9:08 pm
David Shaw...
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Stanford connections run deep in the Broncos’ coaching search.

Greg Penner and Carrie Walton Penner — two of the team’s owners who are interviewing candidates — received master’s degrees from Stanford. Another owner in the search, Condoleezza Rice, has taught and worked at Stanford since 2009, and served as the university’s provost from 1993-99.

And among the candidates are Stanford’s last two head coaches.

Two days after interviewing Jim Harbaugh — the Cardinal’s coach from 2007-10 — the committee interviewed David Shaw, who succeeded Harbaugh before resigning two months ago. Like the Penners, Shaw is a Stanford alumnus.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news Wednesday night.

Shaw’s stewardship of Stanford was mostly successful. He guided the Cardinal to eight consecutive bowl games after taking over in 2011 — including three Rose Bowl appearances and a Fiesta Bowl trip. In five of Shaw’s first six seasons, Stanford finished the season 12th or higher in the final AP poll. His 2015 team finished No. 3, Stanford’s highest season-ending ranking in 75 years.

But returns diminished. 2019 saw Shaw’s first losing season as head coach, a 4-8 finish. After a 4-2 season in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, his final two seasons saw 3-9 records.

Nevertheless, Shaw left Stanford as its winningest coach, with 96 victories. The four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year winner broke the record held by Pop Warner.

Shaw’s NFL background is significant. Before joining Harbaugh in 2006, he worked nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Eagles, Raiders and Ravens.

The Broncos also interviewed former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell this week. The interviews of Caldwell and Shaw mean the Broncos satisfied the requirements of the modified Rooney Rule. That calls for teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for head-coach and general-manager openings.

Having Shaw on the radar also brings the possibility of a Harbaugh-Shaw reunion. The two worked together from 2006-10. Shaw joined Harbaugh at the University of San Diego in 2006, then followed him to Stanford in 2007. At San Diego, Shaw served as passing-game coordinator and coached wide receivers. With the Cardinal, Shaw was Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator. Shaw also coached wide receivers (2007-09) and running backs (2010).

If Shaw joins Harbaugh, it wouldn’t be the first time a head-coaching search finalist joined the staff of the eventual hire. In 2019, Mike Munchak interviewed for the job that went to Vic Fangio. But Munchak immediately joined the Broncos as offensive-line coach.

Fangio, by the way, served on the 2010 Stanford staff alongside Shaw and under Harbaugh.

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