Women’s basketball team enjoys success under veteran coach


Steve Shaw, the women’s basketball coach stands in the North Gym on Sept 29. Shaw has been with the team for 16 seasons and was just named Coach of the Year. Photo credit: Jo Rankin

After moving from Oregon to California, Steve Shaw began playing organized basketball in the fifth grade.

He still remembers the photograph of himself as a kid holding a basketball, standing in the middle of a gym where his dad used to coach. Shaw grew up around basketball and at an early age, knew he wanted to coach.

“From the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to teach and coach,” Shaw said. “It’s the process. I enjoy the challenge every year of that process of where are we at, where are we going to go to and what can I do to help us get along that way. It keeps me going.”

Shaw, 58, enters his 17th season as the women’s basketball coach at El Camino. Last season, Shaw was named South Coast Conference-South Coach of The Year, as his team finished undefeated in conference play and earned its first SCC-South title since 2005.

Growing up in the South Bay, Shaw played basketball and volleyball at Aviation High School in Redondo Beach. He enrolled at EC, focused on basketball and earned All-Conference honors in 1975 and 1976, according to the EC website.

Following EC, Shaw went to Cal State Fullerton where he and his teammates enjoyed a magical 1978 basketball season. Shaw said the Titans made it to the NCAA West Regional title game, and were one game away from reaching the Final Four.

“My senior year we got hot, we were the Cinderella team in the tournament,” Shaw said. “It was a great experience. We upset highly-ranked teams along the way.”

Shaw said he knew all along that he wanted to coach so he changed his major from industrial arts to physical education. He received his bachelor’s of science degree in education from Cal Sate Fullerton and teaching degree and master’s at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

In addition, the 6-foot-8-inch, gray-haired basketball coach is a physical education teacher at Redondo Union High School where he has also served as athletic director. During the EC football season, he is in the press box announcing the games with his booming voice.

“I enjoy doing it,” Shaw said. “It keeps me in connection with the football team and it keeps me more involved in the athletic program. I’m just a sports fan.”

Sophomore guard Kyla Jolly said the credit for last season’s success goes to coach Shaw. The Warriors finished 21-9 and made a deep run in the playoffs.

“Last season was great, we accomplished a lot of things,” Jolly said. “We struggled at the beginning but we ended up getting it together and winning the conference title. We have to listen to coach to get to where we need to be.”

With the help of Shaw, sophomore guard Tyler Quinn said she has improved her leadership skills as well as her basketball skills.

“He improved my game a lot and expects a lot out of us,” Quinn said. “Last season, we slowly came together with the help of coach and we had a really good run.”

When Shaw is not on the basketball court, he spends time with his wife Aida and their two daughters, Erica and Carla. Shaw said he could not turn down the chance when he was offered a coaching position at EC.

“Ever since I was a player here, I always thought it would be neat to come back and coach here,” Shaw said. “Being around a group of people like these young ladies; it energizes me. It’s exciting to see what they’re doing in life as they progress through life as students, basketball players, and young women.”

Shaw and his women’s basketball team will begin their season on Nov. 13 as they travel to Riverside for the Riverside City College Tournament.