STANFORD -- David Shaw walked off the football practice field here Wednesday afternoon. He gazed across the Stanford campus, in the direction of the Memorial Chapel where he was married. The chapel is also part of the main quad, where Shaw once attended classes as an undergraduate.

And the quad? It's not far from the Rodin Sculpture Garden, a favorite campus spot of Shaw's. He sometimes pauses there during his daily jog to sit, relax and reflect.

One question Shaw surely ponders: How on earth would anyone expect him to bolt from his job as Stanford's head coach at first opportunity, when he so clearly loves the place?

But the gurgles have been out there. Shaw has a 22-4 record after his first two seasons. He is preparing the Cardinal team for a Rose Bowl trip. He is 40 years old, young and energetic. In the next few weeks, there will be vacancies in the NFL, where Shaw spent nine seasons as an assistant coach.

Thus, it is probably natural that opposing college coaches might tell recruits that they shouldn't count on Shaw sticking around Stanford much longer. Natural. But inaccurate.

"Those rumors ... whoever actually starts them, I don't know," Shaw said. "But I'm sure there are some coaches who, they don't mind fanning the flames on that."

Wednesday, as a countermove, the school broke out a metaphoric fire extinguisher. Stanford announced it had reached agreement for a "long-term contract extension" with Shaw.

As a private institution, the university is not mandated to report contract terms. Salaries are always kept secret. But it's a little surprising that Cardinal administrators refused to reveal even the term of Shaw's extension. Is it for three more years? Five? Double digits? To infinity and beyond?

"Put it this way," Shaw said, after waving off all guesses. "I want to be coaching here until my kids graduate from here. And I have a 2-year-old."

Hmmmmm. So that makes him good at Stanford until 2031 or so? That would be fine with Bernard Muir, the Stanford athletic director. Muir has been on campus for only five months, after predecessor Bob Bowlsby left to become commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. Muir very quickly came to understand the passion Shaw had for the university in the way he dealt with alums and students as well as his players.

"It's been exciting to watch it all unfold, every day," Muir said. "He oozes Stanford."

And so, as the football season progressed so winningly, Muir began working on an extension proposal. He received a thumbs-up from university president John Hennessy and provost John Etchemendy, then drew up a contract that likely makes Shaw better paid than almost any employee on campus, including all those Nobel Prize winners. Shaw said he was not looking for a new deal. But he was heartened to receive one.

"Our athletic director took the bull by the horns and was very proactive," Shaw said. "I'm grateful that those gentlemen saw me as someone who fits this place. I'm a Stanford man."

His sincerity was genuine. But let's not kid anyone. If Shaw's success continues, he could eventually decide to coach on Sunday afternoons. That has been the flight path of so many other previous successful Stanford head coaches -- Dennis Green, Bill Walsh, Jim Harbaugh among them.

Shaw said he does not hear the siren call of the NFL as much as some, because he scratched that itch for all those years on the staffs of the Eagles, Raiders and Ravens. Stanford needs to have Shaw stick around on campus for a while. There are many reasons.

For one, Shaw is the rare college head coach who truly cares about his own campus' culture. Shaw, as a Stanford alum and Stanford enthusiast and Stanford sculpture-garden ponderer, makes certain that his players are as integrated into the university community as much as possible.

Second, although Shaw never brings it up himself, his achievements are advancing the opportunities for other African-American coaches at NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools. This season, Shaw became the first black coach to take his team to back-to-back BCS bowl games. In the year 2012, this shouldn't be a big deal. But it is.

The facts are these: While the NFL has made great progress in hiring African-American coaches following implementation of the Rooney Rule, college football still lags ridiculously behind. Opportunities for black coaches at FBS programs have actually been decreasing rather than increasing. Two years ago, there were 17 black head coaches at the 120 FBS schools. Last year, there were 15. As of Tuesday, after the latest round of firings and hirings, there are now only 13 black head coaches at the FBS level, with three jobs yet to be filled.

Shaw believes the NCAA is doing a better job of making schools aware of talented minority assistant coaches at the college level who might fill head coach openings. At the moment, though, he is thinking mostly about preparing his players for Pasadena. Shaw has never been to a Rose Bowl game, even as a fan. Neither has his father, Willie, a longtime pro and college assistant coach. In two weeks, dad will end the streak along with his son.

"He didn't give me a choice," Shaw said. "He didn't want a ticket. He said he wanted to be on the sideline with us."

Of course he did. Right there next to the Stanford man.

Minority college football coaches
Norm Chow, Hawaii
Ron English, Eastern Michigan
James Franklin, Vanderbilt
Darrell Hazell, Purdue
Curtis Johnson, Tulane
Mike London, Virginia
Garrick McGee, UAB
Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
David Shaw, Stanford
Charlie Strong, Louisville
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Willie Taggart, South Florida
Don Treadwell, Miami of Ohio
Dwayne Walker, New Mexico State