Vanessa Nygaard is girls’ basketball coach of the year

Two weeks before official practice started in November, L.A. Windward first-year girls’ basketball Coach Vanessa Nygaard gave birth to twins.

Talk about time-management issues.

Nygaard not only balanced being a new mother with her coaching duties, she managed to guide the Wildcats to 32 consecutive victories and a Southern Section Division 4AA championship.

She has been named the Southern California coach of the year in girls’ basketball by The Times.


A former WNBA player, Nygaard had wanted to be a head coach for years and delivered for the Wildcats, whose only loss was to Oakland Bishop O’Dowd in the CIF state championship Open Division final.

“For me, I was so excited to get to do the Xs and Os, and I found out it was more about managing the people and making sure every player and every coach had the right mind-set and was going good,” Nygaard said.