Let’s Speculate! Potential Stanford head football coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Stanford, coached for the past six seasons by David Shaw (resigned on Sunday).

  • Lance Anderson – Stanford AHC/DC/LB
    • Having been on the staff since 2007, Anderson was part of the best years under both Harbaugh and Shaw. If Stanford goes with an internal candidate, then Anderson is the one. The 51-year-old has never been a head coach, but neither had Shaw when they promoted him in 2011.
  • Mike Bloomgren – Rice head coach
    • The numbers have not been stellar at Rice, but Bloomgren has familiarity with the program having coached under Shaw for seven seasons before taking his current job in 2018. Bloomgren worked at Stanford during the best years of Shaw’s tenure, including five seasons (2013-17) as OC where the Cardinal went to five bowls (including two Rose Bowls).
  • Kalani Sitake – BYU head coach
    • Stanford – and any number of other programs across the country – would be thrilled to land a coach like Sitake. He’s coming off back-to-back 10+ win seasons at BYU and has consistently had the Cougars in the AP Poll over the last several years. With plenty of Pac-12 experience (Utah and Oregon State) and a track record of winning at the college level (currently 50-30 overall as a head coach), Sitake would be a great fit. But would he leave his alma mater?
  • Brent Brennan – San José State head coach
    • Brennan is a Bay Area-native currently coaching just 20 miles from Stanford Stadium at San José State, where he is about to take the Spartans to a second bowl game in three years. Hired in 2017, Brennan has done a full rebuild at SJSU, going from just three combined wins in his first two years to a 7-1 (7-0) season in year four. He spent six years on staff at San José earlier in his career, and has Pac-12 experience both playing (at UCLA) and coaching (at Oregon State, Washington and Arizona). Not the flashiest name on the list but a strong local candidate, for sure.
  • Derek Mason – Oklahoma State DC
    • Mason spent four seasons at Stanford (three as DC) during some of the brightest times in Shaw’s tenure. He has head coaching experience – his tenure at Vanderbilt did not go as planned, but a return to familiarity in Palo Alto might be exactly what Mason needs to succeed at the helm of a major program.
  • Tosh Lupoi – Oregon DC/LB
    • Oregon coordinators are consistently getting head coaching opportunities (the latest example) and Lupoi has a lot of the qualities that Stanford will be looking for: Pac-12 experience, local ties (Lupoi is from Walnut Creek and played at rival California), and championship pedigree (on staff for two National Championships at Alabama, including one as DC).
  • Troy Taylor – Sacramento State (FCS) head coach
    • Taylor is not long for the FCS world, leading Sacramento State to a perfect 11-0 regular season this year after 9-4 and 9-3 records in his first two seasons at the helm. The California-native played for and coached with the Golden Bears, and before taking the Sac State job spent two seasons as the OC and QBs coach at Utah. It won’t be long before Taylor is a head coach at an FBS program, the only question is whether or not FCS to Pac-12 is too big a jump?
  • Tom Herman – former Texas & Houston head coach
    • When Texas hired Herman in 2017 it was a no-brainer, as he was a year removed from a 13-win season at Houston and was 22-4 overall in his two season there. And by many measures his 4-year tenure was successful: 4-0 in bowl games, finished in the Top 25 three times (Top 10 once) and won 64% of his games there. That wasn’t good enough for Texas, but Herman is going to catch on somewhere else soon. Is Stanford the right place for him to re-capture the magic from his Houston days? He’s coached largely in the South and Midwest but he did grow up in California and should be able to recruit Pac-12 country.
  • Bronco Mendenhall – former Virginia, BYU head coach
    • Yes, he was under .500 in six seasons at UVA. But Mendenhall earned that job after eleven strong seasons at BYU, reaching a bowl game every year (six wins) and five times finishing a season ranked in a national poll. He stepped down in 2021 but there are indications he is looking to get back in the game and a trip back West might be the right move.