Success has become synonymous with the Stanford Cardinal football program. Three double-digit win seasons in a row, including a BCS bowl game berth in each, have the folks in Palo Alto enjoying as successful a stretch in recent memory.
Head coach David Shaw was rewarded this week with a long-term contract extension. Because the school is a non-public institution, the details of the deal were not disclosed. What the extension symbolizes is a trust that Shaw has what it takes to continue to lead the program into the future. As an African-American, Shaw is leading the way socially as well.
The recent events in Boulder have brought back some of the ugly realities facing minority coaches. Jon Embree lost a lot of games for the Colorado Buffaloes and ultimately that was the reason he was let go; but will he get another shot at a major university? The numbers are clear; African-American coaches get a second chance only on the rarest of occasions.
While Shaw’s race has nothing to do with his ability to guide the Cardinal to wins and losses, it is refreshing to see a coach of color rewarded for his accomplishments. My hope is that the faith that Stanford has put into Shaw will translate into other opportunities for minority coaches regarding big-time college football programs.
Shaw has carried the torch given to him by the now-departed San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Now, let us hope that the coach at Stanford can pass that torch to more qualified candidates around college football that might otherwise be overlooked.
What a win that would be.