Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw was today named the 2012 Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year, as selected by his peer head coaches in the Pac-12. Stanford also had five players named to the All-Pac-12 First Team, tied with Oregon for best in the conference, in addition to five Cardinal named Second Team.
The Coach of the Year honor is the second for Shaw in his second year as head coach at Stanford. He becomes only the fourth coach in Pac-12 history to earn the award in consecutive seasons.
Shaw has led Stanford this year to a 10-2 regular season record and its first Pac-12 North title, while defeating for the first time in school history the AP No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a single season. Under his leadership, the Cardinal has won 10 games in three consecutive seasons for the first time.
Stanford is one win in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game away from a Rose Bowl berth and third consecutive BCS bowl game.
Highlighting the All-Pac-12 First Team for Stanford are senior TE Zach Ertz, senior OLB Trent Murphy, junior FS Ed Reynolds, fifth-year senior OLB Chase Thomas and junior OT/OG David Yankey. The conference honor for Thomas is a repeat of last year's selection.
Ertz has led Stanford in receiving with tight end school records of 818 yards and 63 receptions, both best in the FBS among tight ends this season. In addition to pacing the Cardinal offense in receiving seven out of 12 games, Ertz has hauled in game-winning touchdowns against No. 2 USC and No. 13 Oregon State, plus the game-tying score in the overtime win at No. 1 Oregon. He is a Mackey Award finalist for the nation's top collegiate tight end.
Murphy tops the nation's No. 1 sack defense with 9.5 sacks, the most by a Stanford player since 2004. He also leads in tackles for loss for the Cardinal, again ranked No. 1 in the nation, with 16.5 total and 15 solo tackles for loss. Murphy has leveraged his 6-foot-6 frame to not only rush the quarterback but also to break up four passes. He caught one interception and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown at Washington.
Reynolds has returned from a 2011 season-ending injury to lead Stanford with five interceptions for a FBS-leading 221 return yards. Three times this season he has run interceptions back for a touchdown, which is a school record. Reynolds' instinctive play has also broken up five more passes.
Thomas for a second straight year has earned All-Pac-12 honors by leading a Stanford defense with historic accomplishments, including leading the nation in rushing defense and recording three of the school's top 10 performances against the run in three straight weeks.
Thomas ranks second on the team in tackles (4.83) while recording 12.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He has forced two fumbles and recovered another fumble for a touchdown at Notre Dame.
Yankey has led a retooled offensive line that came into the season with 37 combined career starts. The 6-foot-5 guard has started all 12 games this season at tackle, while still playing upward of 20 percent of his snaps in the interior. Yankey has graded at 86 percent this season and allowed one sack.
Four more Stanford players highlighted the All-Pac-12 Second Team, including Doak Walker Award semifinalist senior RB Stepfan Taylor. The first ever Cardinal to rush for three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons was joined by junior DE Henry Anderson, senior OG Kevin Danser, senior DE Ben Gardner and fifth-year senior C Sam Schwartzstein.
A host of Stanford players received Honorable Mention: senior NB Usua Amanam, senior CB Terrence Brown, freshman CB Alex Carter, fifth-year senior OLB Alex Debniak (as Special Teams), junior OT Cameron Fleming, senior FB Ryan Hewitt, sophomore QB Kevin Hogan, sophomore WR Ty Montgomery (as Return Specialist), sophomore SS Jordan Richards, senior ILB Shayne Skov, senior DT Terrence Stephens, senior WR Drew Terrell (as Return Specialist), senior TE Levine Toilolo and fifth-year senior P Daniel Zychlinski.
These heralded Cardinal and more will take the field one final time at Stanford Stadium on Friday as Stanford plays host to UCLA in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. Kickoff is 5 p.m. PT with a national broadcast on FOX.
Tickets are available for sale now at GoStanford.com for Cardinal fans to pack the house one final time in 2012, for Stanford to win a Pac-12 Championship.