- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Stanford has announced that through an anonymous donation, its defensive coordinator position has been endowed and will be known as the Willie Shaw Directorship of Defense.
The position is named for the former Stanford defensive coordinator and father of head coach David Shaw.
"Gifts like this make it possible for us to attract and retain the best coaches in America," David Shaw said in a statement from the school. "Also, it is important to recognize how vital our defensive performance has been to our recent success, helping to elevate this program to the upper echelon of college football."
This is a common practice at Stanford. David Shaw's official title is the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. Last May, another anonymous donor endowed the offensive coordinator position as the Andrew Luck Director of Offense.
All 85 of Stanford's football scholarships are endowed and there are 10 other head coaches at Stanford in different sports who have endowed positions.
Derek Mason, who is in his fourth year with Stanford and third as coordinator, is Stanford's first Willie Shaw Director of Defense.
"The honor of this endowed position is all about these kids, this staff and this program, with what we have achieved, worked toward and aspired to become: one of the best defensive units in the country," said Mason. "What our defense has been able to accomplish has been nothing short of a blessing. People are now starting to take notice that Stanford's brand means playing physical, unrelenting football on both sides of the ball."
Last season, Stanford's defense was No. 1 nationally in sacks, No. 2 in tackles for a loss and No. 5 nationally in rush defense. While going 12-2 and winning the Pac-12 championship and the Rose Bowl, Stanford ranked 11th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 17.2 points per game on average. Over its final six games last season, Stanford held opponents scoreless in the fourth quarter or overtime.
The Cardinal enter the 2013 season riding an eight-game winning streak and they are expected to be a top-five team in the preseason rankings.
1dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill