In his latest mailbag, Kevin Gemmell was asked to look into his crystal football and predict various aspects of the future of the Stanford program. Here's part of his response (emphasis mine):
"Well, three years down the line I'd expect the Cardinal will be looking for another outstanding offensive line class because the bulk of this year's group will be heading to the draft. I'd be shocked if Pep Hamilton and Derek Mason haven't gotten head coaching gigs somewhere in three to five years. I'd imagine Shaw is still the head coach in five years. The lure to return to the NFL might tempt him five years from now -- especially if he's offered an offensive coordinator or head-coaching job. But unless he has back-to-back 0-12 seasons and a heap of NCAA violations, I don't see him ever getting fired. He's an alumnus, he loves the school and the program and if he's still head coach in 2022, I wouldn't be all that surprised."
Kevin jokes that he could use Carnac the Magnificent's help for such a question, but that line about the NFL might raise a few eyebrows. After all, Shaw has repeatedly referred to Stanford as his dream job and had this to say on the day he was introduced as Jim Harbaugh's replacement:
"Since the day I started coaching, this is the job I always knew I wanted," he said, then added later. "I wanted this to be my last head coaching interview ever."
When Shaw was rumored to be interviewing for the Penn State head coaching vacancy in December, Jon Wilner wrote that "Shaw wants to be the Joe Paterno of football, without the trouble."
Would it completely shock me if Shaw takes an NFL job somewhere down the line? No. I don't doubt for a second that he was absolutely sincere when he said he wanted this to be his last head coaching interview. I hope it was his last head coaching interview, or assistant coaching interview for that matter. I also wouldn't hold it against him if, at some point, he changes his mind. Life happens.
Assuming he isn't fired, I don't think there's any chance that Shaw leaves the Cardinal for an assistant coaching job in the NFL. But imagine that Stanford wins multiple Pac-12 and national titles over the next 10 years and the still-in-Oakland Raiders' head coaching position opens up. (Remember when the latter scenario was about a gazillion times more likely than the former? It's probably down to a billion now.) Like Harbaugh and Monty before him, Shaw and his family wouldn't have to uproot and leave the Bay Area. Could you fault him for having a change of heart?
I think it's more likely that Shaw is still at Stanford in 2022, multiple Pac-12 titles or not, than it is that he's coaching in the NFL. What about you?