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Stanford's Coaching Search Reportedly Down To 2 Finalists

Stanford helmet

On November 27th and following a disappointing 3-9 season, Stanford's David Shaw announced his resignation from the Cardinal program. 

Less than two weeks later, it appears that Stanford has narrowed their search for a new head coach down to two names.  

According to college football insider Pete Thamel, Stanford is reportedly honing in on former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and current Sacramento State coach Troy Taylor for their open position. 

As far as finalists for a head coaching position are concerned, Garrett and Taylor have about as opposite of backgrounds as seemingly anyone. 

Despite both playing the quarterback position in college, each have taken wildly separate paths to get where they are today in their respective coaching careers. 

Garrett got his start with the Miami Dolphins in 2005 as the team's quarterbacks coach following his one year with Miami as a quarterback in 2004. A few years later, in 2007, Garrett moved to Dallas where he spent the next four seasons as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator. 

After taking over as the Cowboys' interim coach during the 2010 season, Garrett was named the full time head coach in 2011, where he remained until 2019. Following a brief stint as offensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 2020, Garrett moved to television as a color analyst for Notre Dame broadcasts and as a studio analyst for Sunday Night Football. 

While Garrett does have a slew of NFL experience, he's never actually coached or recruited for a collegiate football program. Stanford's other top option, Sacramento State's Troy Taylor, is quite the opposite - he's accrued a ton of collegiate coaching experience, but none in the NFL.

Following his last year in the NFL as a player in 1993, Taylor began his coaching career as an offensive coordinator at Casa Roble High School. He left Casa Roble one year later and bounced around several collegiate programs before returning to the high school ranks in 2002 to claim his first head coaching position at Folsom. 

Taylor spent 13 years at Folsom between 2002 and 2015 before taking the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach role at Eastern Washington. Spending just one year with the Eagles, Taylor then took the same position at Utah before landing a head coaching gig at Sacramento State. 

In three full seasons at Sacramento State, Taylor has amassed an impressive 30-7 record with the Hornets. Garrett, in 10 seasons with the Cowboys, accumulated 85 wins compared to 67 losses. 

Stanford certainly has a tough decision on their hands: Do they go with a known commodity in Garrett with clear flaws and a lack of recruiting experience, or, do they take a chance on a lesser-known coach with Pac-12 roots? 

Whichever candidate ends up as the Cardinal skipper will open Stanford's 2023 season on the road at Hawaii.