By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
Stanford Head Coach David Shaw may be the most respected man in football. He has had success on the field, he is a Stanford graduate, been an assistant in the NFL and is even an advisor/ investor in a virtual reality company. He is doing it all and then some.
Recently Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports sat down with him. They touched on a lot of things but the main thing was the use of Oculus Rift for quarterback Kevin Hogan. He improved dramatically in the last three games of the season in part because of the device.
It’s not just the fact that Shaw has embraced virtual reality (VR) but that he has tried other things like GoPro’s in the past. It’s this embracing of technology, this embracing of the Silicon Valley mentality. Hell, the man has given a Ted Talk.
While in the end he will be judged on wins and losses he, and other coaches, have to do than just win football games. They have to have this long term view of things. From identifying talent at an early age to adapting to how to relate to players as society changes not to mention taking on new football philosophies.
Shaw does this and does it at Stanford, one of the toughest academic schools in the world in one of the best football conferences in the country. It’s not an easy gig and no one would blame him or his staff for sticking with the classic football ideals. He doesn’t. He is taking on new ideas that could help him win, not just next season, but in the years to come.
Shaw is what a college coach should be. Good, tough, smart, and willing to take on new ideas. If college teaches us anything it’s that we should be more like him.