For this next edition of Forgotten Coaches, we have another coach from way back when. For this edition, we turn our attention towards Buck Shaw.
Not a lot of people might know the name, but it should be noted he did coach the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles when they won the NFL Championship.
Shaw was a head coach for 12 seasons in pro football. He started out in 1946 with the San Francisco 49ers, back when they were playing in the All-America Football Conference. Shaw had already been a college coach for years prior to the professional ranks. He coached for NC State, Nevada, Santa Clara and California. Shaw played college football at Notre Dame, playing for Knute Rockne.
His first gig was with the San Francisco 49ers of the All-America Football Conference. Shaw had considerable success during his first season in with the Niners. The team went 9-5, finishing second behind the Cleveland Browns in the West division. One of Cleveland’s two losses during the season was in fact to San Francisco. The 49ers finished the season by winning three straight games, after consecutive losses put them at 6-5.
During the 1947 season, San Francisco finished second once again to the Browns, going 8-4-2. The 1948 season was the 49ers best with Shaw as head coach. The 49ers went 12-2 during the season. Their only losses that season were to the Cleveland Browns. Sure enough, Cleveland would win another division title. They finished the year undefeated.
In 1949, San Francisco made it all the way to the Championship game. However, they would lose 21-7 to the Cleveland Browns. The next season, the Niners, along with the Browns and the Baltimore Colts, merged into the NFL. San Francisco lost their first five games to start the 1950 NFL season. They would finish with a 3-9 record.
For 1951, with Frankie Albert and YA Tittle sharing the QB role, and Joe Perry leading the rushing attack, the Niners finished with a 7-4-1 record, tying them for second with Detroit in the division.
San Francisco had three straight winning seasons from that point, including going 9-3 in 1953, putting them in sole possession of second behind Detroit. On the bright side though, they didn’t have to deal with Cleveland in their division.
Shaw’s final season with the team was 1954. The team once again finished 7-4-1 and Shaw was out as Head Coach. He would go back to the college ranks to help build the new football program at the Air Force Academy.
Shaw’s first season in Philly wasn’t a good one as the team finished 2-9. The ’59 season went much better as they went 7-5, finishing second in the division.
It all came together for the Eagles in 1960. Shaw was able to get over the hump as he led the Eagles team to a division title and a championship game against the Green Bay Packers. Philly won the game 17-13, thanks to a fourth quarter touchdown by Ted Dean.
Both Shaw and Van Brocklin opted to retire after the season.
Shaw finished his professional football coaching career with a 90-55-5 record. He has more wins than Brian Billick, Jimmy Johnson, Wade Phillips and Dave Wannstedt. He’s in fact just two wins behind Bill Walsh.
Shaw died in 1977, just shy of his birthday. Santa Clara University named its outdoor stadium after him. Shaw was able to leave the game of football on a good note and hopefully his accomplishments will live on.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference. Articles via Google News