After spending the past year as a studio analyst for Sunday Night Football (he’s also served as a color commentator for Notre Dame games on NBC), Jason Garrett could be nearing a return to the sideline, emerging as a leading candidate to replace David Shaw, who resigned from Stanford last month after 16 years at the university including 12 as the Cardinal’s head coach.
Before narrowing their search down to two finalists—Garrett and Troy Taylor of Sacramento State—Stanford had also explored hiring Bronco Mendenhall (most recently of Virginia), Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman and former Broncos coach Vic Fangio, according to Stewart Mandel of The Athletic. While he’s never coached at the collegiate level, Garrett boasts extensive NFL experience, compiling an 85-67 record (.559-win percentage) over nine seasons (ten if you include his eight-game stint as interim coach in 2010) in Dallas.
Following his Cowboys departure, the former quarterback latched on with the Giants (whom he played for from 2000-03) as their offensive coordinator, but only lasted a season and a half. Garrett garnered interest from Duke during last year’s coaching cycle, though the Blue Devils would ultimately go in another direction, hiring Mike Elko as David Cutcliffe’s successor.
Though his later seasons brought relatively little success (Stanford hasn’t reached a bowl game since 2018), Shaw will be a tough act to follow, departing Palo Alto as the winningest coach in school history (96-54). Stanford won three conference titles over that span, representing the Pac-12 at the Rose Bowl in 2012, ’13 and ’15.
We’ve already seen plenty of turnover in the Pac-12 coaching ranks this offseason with Arizona State and Colorado hiring Kenny Dillingham and Deion Sanders, respectively. If Garrett gets the job, he’ll have his work cut out for him following a dismal 3-9 season with Stanford’s only wins this year coming against Colgate, Notre Dame and Arizona State.