David Shaw; my vacation
by Glenn Dickey
Dec 10, 2015

Many of those following college football cannot understand why David Shaw remains at Stanford.

If you understand that there is life beyond football, it's not really that puzzling. Shaw loves Stanford. He went to school there, he's played there, been an assistant under Jim Harbaugh and now a very successful head coach.

Even though I'm a Cal grad, I think that Stanford has a beautiful campus and probably the best weather overall in the Bay Area. Virtually every time I've visited there, it seems it's been a pleasant day, and I've seen many students bicycling around the campus. They all seem happy, and why not?

The academic work load is tough but Stanford only brings in students who score very high on academic tests. I'll forget the time I was talking to Todd Lichti and he said he'd gotten 800, the maximum, on one part of the SAT. I asked him what he got on the other part and he said, "800." He was also the best Stanford basketball player I'd seen; Hank Luisetti was well before my time, of course.

So, I completely understand why Shaw doesn't want to leave.

I faced a possible decision on my own future in the '70s that was similar to this. I was covering a Raiders game in New York in the '70s and visited Ron Fimrite, who had preceded me as a Chronicle sports columnist before he left to go to Sports Illustrated. Fimrite introduced me to the magazine's editor, who was familiar with my Chronicle columns and told me that if I was interested in working for the magazine, he'd probably
be able to find a spot for me.

That was flattering but I never seriously considered that because at that time, SI writers had to live in the New York area. No thanks. I returned home and continued writing my column, angering more and more readers!

I never regretted that decision, even when it became possible to send in columns electronically, which meant I could have worked for SI without living in New York. I believe I was much better at writing newspaper columns than magazine articles; I did many free lance magazine articles in that era so I had a basis of comparison.

And, my wife and I loved living in the Bay Area. Nancy and I had both found our way to San Francisco in the early '60s. Her route was much more difficult because she and a friend had driven all the way from Memphis. I only had to come up from Watsonville when I was hired by The Chronicle.

Nancy and I were married in 1967 and moved to Oakland in 1969 because we knew we couldn't afford to buy a house in San Francisco. Sound familiar? We've lived in the same spot, except for the time when we were burned out in 1991, and love it.

So, if you're happy in one spot, it makes sense to stay there. Good for you, David Shaw.
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Note to readers: This is the last I'll be writing on this site for the year. I'm not sure what I'll be writing when I return but it's not likely to be on sports. Check this site in January and I'll let you know.

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