David Shaw shared his big news late Saturday night after Stanford’s season-ending loss to BYU: He has resigned after 12 seasons as the Cardinal coach.
The speculation over his successor began immediately, of course, and there is a long list of names being circulated, including the likes of Chris Petersen, Dave Aranda and Bill O’Brien.
And many Cal fans' worst nightmare: Troy Taylor.
There are vocal segments of Old Blues who pine for Taylor to become the Bears’ head coach. And if that opening existed, I would be in the front of the line pushing for his hire.
Taylor, star quarterback for the Bears in the late 1980s, has proved himself to be a rising star in coaching as well.
He has led Sacramento State, an FCS program in his hometown, to an 11-0 record this season and No. 2 national ranking headed into the FCS playoffs.
Taylor’s three-year record with the Hornets is 29-7. The 54-year-old directs a productive and entertaining offense, he has experience in the Pac-12 as a former Cal assistant and Utah offensive coordinator and he is popular among the fan base.
But Justin Wilcox isn’t going anywhere, so there is no head coaching job available for Taylor in Berkeley. Wilcox’s contract with Cal, extended last offseason, ties him to the program through 2027 and would be too costly to pay off, even if the administration wanted to . . . which it does not.
If the timing doesn’t work for a Taylor-Cal reunion, might Stanford be interested?
As was pointed out by The Athletic, Stanford had good success the last time it hired a coach from the FCS level. Jim Harbaugh, who came from the University of San Diego, was 20-6 his final two seasons on The Farm before taking the 49ers job.
The Cardinal will have lots of options. Stanford isn’t an easy place because of academics, obviously, but also related issues including the transfer portal and name, image and likeness. Money is not an issue for Stanford.
Shaw was Stanford’s head coach for 12 seasons after working under Harbaugh for four years. He won 96 games at his alma mater — a program record — and three Pac-12 titles.
But Stanford was 3-9 the past two seasons and 14-28 since the start of 2019. The Cardinal was winless in the month of November this season and last.
Taylor will get an FBS head-coaching job as soon as he is offered one he likes. My guess is that will be sooner than later. He is happy at Sac State but it would be foolish to think he’ll stay there forever simply because he grew up in the state’s capital city.
Whether Stanford views him as an answer is unknown. It would be surprising if they don't at least give him a look. The Cardinal could drive Cal fans nuts by hiring Taylor, but there are lots of potential candidates.
Here's a sprinkling of them:
—Chris Petersen, 58-year-old Northern California native and former Boise State and Washington coach who was 147-38 before retiring in 2019 because of burnout
—Bill O’Brien, 53, Alabama offensive coordinator and former head coach for Penn State and the Houston Texans
—Dave Aranda, 46-year-old Baylor head coach and native Californian with experience as a defensive specialist at Wisconsin and LSU
— Bronco Mendenhall, 56, former Virginia and BYU coach and graduate of Oregon State
— Derek Mason, 53, Oklahoma State defensive coordinator and a former Stanford assistant
— Mike Bloomgren, 45-year-old Rice head coach and former Stanford assistant
—Greg Roman, 50, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator and former assistant with Stanford and the 49ers
—Jay Hill, 47-year-old who is 68-38 in nine seasons as head coach at Weber State
—Tom Herman, a 47-year-old California native and former Texas head coach
—Mike Elko, who is 8-4 in his first season at age 45 as head coach at Duke
—Dave Clawson, 55, Wake Forest head coach, who has no West Coast connections
—Troy Walters, 45, former Stanford player who has served as UCF’s offensive coordinator and is the Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers coach
—Ryan Walters, 36-year-old defensive coordinator at Illinois who grew up in Los Angeles and played at Colorado
—Pep Hamilton, 48, Houston Texans offensive coordinator and a former top assistant at Stanford under Harbaugh
Cover photo of Troy Taylor courtesy of Sacramento State Athletics
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo