Stanford football coach to speak at Baccalaureate

Aaron Chum, Author

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Stanford University head football coach David Shaw will speak at Palo Alto High School’s Baccalaureate on May 26.

Shaw, promoted in January 2011 to the top position after four years as Stanford’s offensive coordinator, has compiled a 23-4 record through two seasons as head coach. Most recently, Shaw led the team to its first Rose Bowl victory since 1972 with a January 2013 win over the University of Wisconsin.

Shaw’s agreement to speak at Baccalaureate ends a selection process that began with discussions during first semester, according to Student Activities Director Matt Hall and senior class president Michael Wang.

“We sent a couple preliminary invitations out to some people we thought would be viable options including James Franco, Lil B and Jeremy Lin,” Wang said. “But then [senior vice president Josh Stabinsky] brought up David Shaw and we thought that he would be the best option.”

“We sent the request to him [Shaw] asking him to consider being our speaker, [and] he has agreed,” Hall said. “That’s where we stand.”

Wang believes that Shaw will be an engaging speaker for the entire Paly community.

“I think he has a lot to offer for sports fans and non-sports fans alike,” Wang said. “He’s obviously very successful at what he does and the fact that Paly is both very sports-oriented and success-oriented makes him a good option.”

Hall also acknowledged Shaw’s wide-ranging appeal.

“In my opinion, I think he offers the full package in that he can offer something to our graduates,” Hall said. “They’re the ones that this event is all about. But he can also offer something to our graduates’ parents, the relatives. You know, a grandma that flew in from Topeka, Kansas. She’s going to be stoked on what he has to say as well as the senior sitting in the third row, seat five. So that’s what I think he brings to the table. A widespread draw and a wealth of wisdom I think that he’s willing to share with us.”

Senior Brandon Byer approves of Shaw and believes that the graduating class can draw inspiration from him.

“I think Paly’s selection of David Shaw as a speaker for our Baccalaureate is a great idea,” Byer said. “He’s someone in the community who has achieved great success and can offer great insight into how hard he worked to get where he is today.”

Baccalaureate will take place from 12:30 p.m to 2 p.m. on May 26 at the Flint Center in Cupertino. According to Hall, there are still approximately 40 seniors who have not ordered Baccalaureate tickets. Such seniors who plan to attend should contact Hall at mhall@pausd.org or (650) 279-5334.