Hiring injects new life into women’s game

Qualified local candidate selected as face of program


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Women’s basketball coach Vince Shaw passes the ball to a player during a practice drill in the Gymnasium on Thursday.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

When former CCC women’s basketball coach Paul DeBolt chose step down after 30 years at the helm of the program, many took the news in disbelief. But at least one person saw the opening as an opportunity to step in and continue a legacy of basketball excellence.

After an extensive search, established coach and Bay Area native Vincent Shaw was hired June 20 to take over as coach of the Comets’ women’s basketball team.

“Of the people who applied he was the most qualified, so I thought he’d be a good fit for us moving forward,” Athletic Director John Wade said. “Just seeing the way he coached against us his teams played hard and with vigor. They were also organized and respectable.”

Shaw’s formula translated to wins.

In his five years at Napa Valley College his teams amassed a 30-30  Bay Valley Conference record. Like most people, Shaw was taken aback when learning of the vacancy at CCC.

“I found out like most people did, on DeBolt’s Facebook page,” Shaw said. “When I read the post about him leaving basketball, I gave him a call to tell him that his account had been hacked.”

The message was no hoax and not only did DeBolt confirm his decision to Shaw, he also hoped the program that he built would hire someone with Shaw’s pedigree. “He’s a basketball guy and I respect that he came up playing the game,” DeBolt said. “He has basketball flowing through his veins. I hoped that we would hire a basketball person and Vince (Shaw) is a natural fit. He understands the game at a deep level and he cares about his players as people.”

Shaw’s basketball experience reaches far beyond Napa Valley College. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University, Shaw earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from St. Mary’s College.

His coaching experience began in men’s basketball, first as an assistant at Solano Community College for two seasons, and then as an assistant at Santa Rosa Junior College for two more years. His final stints in the men’s game came as assistant coach at Sonoma State University followed by an associate head coaching position back at Solano.

After being back at Solano with the men’s team for two years, Shaw was offered the head coaching job of the women’s team at Napa Valley.

“I’ve paid my dues, learned my craft and have been fortunate to work with good people,” Shaw said. “I’m a go-getter, assertive, I believe you can’t wait for people to do for you. You have to be able to make good with what you’ve got.”

Along with his success on the court, the coach recognizes the larger picture when developing productive student-athletes. Shaw strives to develop well-rounded individuals, not just good basketball players. He wants to put his players in the best position not to just win games, but to be productive, well-rounded adults.

“Some people say that I’ve gotten soft over the years. But with nearly two decades of coaching experience, I better understand the needs of the students,” Shaw said.

He believes a problem that many coaches have is that they do not really take time to get to know their athletes and consequently cannot identify with them or how best to help them.

“As long as they are here with me I will nurture their growth and steer them in the right direction.” Shaw said.

The coach recalls playing against the Comets in San Pablo and being invited into DeBolt’s office after the game. The walls, which serve as a pictorial reminder of a legacy of basketball triumphs reaching back over 30 years, enamored the visiting coach.

“The tradition (at CCC) makes this a great opportunity. There’s just something about this place,” Shaw said. “I remember standing in his office thinking, it would be awesome to be a part of this. Now that I’m here, it’s time to dig in and go to work.