Denis Perez / The Advocate
Basketball is a game of rhythm and movement that, with natural turns, takes those who are involved within its cadence to places they never thought imaginable.
These movements also consist of off-court experiences which mirror in-game situations and lead toward a basketball centered life.
It’s like giving up personal accolades for a collective goal — it all becomes sacrificing for the greater good.
This is true of Comet women’s basketball coach Vincent Shaw who has finished his third season with the program and has found himself comfortably in a place where the sport has guided him.
Shaw said his journey through the ranks of basketball came as naturally to him as the dance he was involved with as a young adult.
“A lot of similarities between music and basketball, the footwork helped me as a player and I saw how the two mixed,” Shaw said. “My dance group and I were the opening act for MC Hammer.”
That connection allowed his point guard mentality to translate to an off-the-court coaching style that Shaw has seen develop since he began his life on the sidelines.
Shaw said, “They say that the point guard is the coach on the floor and I feel as if that gave me some good practice before coaching.
“I feel like stepping into coaching was a natural transition for me beginning in 1996 when my coach asked me to contribute as an assistant.”
Shaw, who was hired at CCC in 2016 to follow longtime coach Paul DeBolt, comes from a basketball background familiar to Contra Costa College.
The Fairfield native served on the men’s basketball coaching staff at Solano College and progressed through roles there and at Napa Valley College.
After assuming head coaching duties of the women’s squad at Napa Valley, he amassed a 30-30 record during his tenure.
Athletic Director John Wade said that the decision to bring Shaw aboard had to do with his in-conference understanding of the program. He also lauded the coach’s basketball success throughout tournaments in which his teams at Napa Valley competed against the Comets.
Wade said, “We were looking at hiring someone who had a basketball background and we knew about coach Shaw from his time at Napa Valley. His coaching stood out and his teams always competed and held their own.”
Wade added, choosing a successor for a long time coach such as DeBolt was difficult, and although the transition has been a tough assignment for Shaw, he has maneuvered through the circumstances making an impact on his players in the process.
The players use coach Shaw’s influence both on and off the court.
Guard Victoria Lopez said, “Coach Shaw has three key words for the game and life. It’s live it, speak it and accept it.”
Owning your decisions is something that is a key description of coach Shaw’s time so far at CCC according to Lopez.
He sees having a positive influence on his players as something that can define his tenure as Comet head coach.
Lopez said, “The program hasn’t been the best, but believe me when I say coach Shaw is someone each and every one (on this team) can ask for help.”
Shaw said, “Guiding these players through the little time they have here is something I hope to continue as part of the longstanding legacy of this program.”
Shaw has seen that legacy firsthand. “I remember, specifically, DeBolt pulling me into his office after a game and seeing the walls around his office and thinking of what it would be like to be involved with this program. Having the opportunity now at this place it is something I appreciate,” Shaw said.