Vanessa Nygaard used to be a WNBA player.
"Toward the end, I knew I wanted to be a coach," she said. "I didn't think I would be a high school coach, but I love it."
Nygaard is thriving after six seasons as head coach at L.A. Windward.
"The longer I coach, hopefully I'm getting better," she said.
Nygaard couldn't have done a better job this season, guiding the Wildcats to state, regional and section championships in the Open Division. She has been selected The Times' coach of the year.
Windward (27-3) started the season overcoming an 18-point deficit to defeat Studio City Harvard-Westlake. By season's end, the Wildcats had become a prolific offensive team.
"This team could shoot so well it was so fun to find different ways to attack," Nygaard said.
Windward's depth, along with the presence of Charisma Osborne, helped pave the way for a championship season.