Stanford coach David Shaw recalls hoops foray

Thu, Aug 18

Stanford football coach David Shaw is a gridiron lifer.

He begins his first head coaching job this season, succeeding Jim Harbaugh as the new pilot of the Cardinal program.

Shaw was a wide receiver at Stanford from 1991-94 under coaches Dennis Green and Bill Walsh. Upon graduation in 1995, Shaw immediately joined the coaching fraternity at Division II Western Washington. He later worked as an NFL assistant with the Eagles, Raiders and Ravens. Shaw joined Harbaugh's staff at the University of San Diego in 2006 and served as Harbaugh's offensive coordinator at Stanford the past four seasons.

Shaw has the coaching pedigree as well. His father, Willie, coached in the college and NFL ranks for 33 years, including two stints at Stanford.

So it might come as somewhat of a surprise that Shaw had enough time to enjoy a passion for basketball back in the day -- and even once appeared in a varsity game for the Cardinal.

One of Shaw's college roommates, Brent Williams, was a starter for Mike Montgomery's hoops teams in the early 1990s. At one point, the basketball team was down to nine players, and Shaw asked Williams to tell Montgomery he was interested in joining the team. Montgomery took him up on it, and with Walsh's blessing Shaw joined the varsity as a practice player.

"The first game I actually put on a warm-up uniform for was the Cal game," Shaw said. "I didn't have a jersey on underneath it. I just had on the warm-up uniform. I went through warm-ups and had a blast."

Montgomery gave Shaw a uniform, No. 21, for the following home game against Oregon State. When the Cardinal took a big lead in the second half, fans clamored for Montgomery to put Shaw in the game.

"I had a football cheering section, and just like the movie 'Rudy,' everybody starts cheering my name. Montgomery comes down -- and I'm at the end of the bench -- and he says, 'Do you wanna play?' I said, 'You better believe it.' So he put me in, and I got a minute and a half. In the first 10 seconds on the court, I got a rebound. So I have one NCAA stat, and it was phenomenal."

[Editor's note: Page 2 interviewed all the Pac-12 head football coaches during their recent visit to ESPN headquarters. Look for excerpts all month in the Page 2 blog. Page 2's Pac-12 questionnaire -- where coaches voted on the most attractive cheerleaders, best mascot, most dapper coach and much more -- will be posted Thursday, Aug. 25, along with Q&A interviews from all 12 coaches.]