El Camino Real has hired Shawn Kolani to coach the university’s men’s basketball team, the school announced Wednesday. Kolani joins Brooke Kalama of Roybal and Jennifer Crockett of Sherman Oaks CES as head coaches of men’s basketball teams in the City of Los Angeles section.
“At this point, I’m excited beyond words,” Kolani said Wednesday night in a phone interview with SBLive. “…That means everything. I was born and raised in the valley, so to be able to break down some barriers and create some kind of new path for women in a place where I grew up and where I was in high school like a lot of those kids, it’s really special.”
Kolani played at Taft High School and then coached Taft’s men’s team in 2018-19 as an assistant to head coach Derrick Taylor. She was elevated to head coaching for two games that season when Taylor was unable to coach due to illness. Kolani is the sister of former Taft guard and UCLA great Jordan Farmar.
During the 2017-2018 NBA season, Kolani worked as an associate coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. Her duties included working as a video coordinator, reviewing scans and writing scouting reports. Kolani also participated in field practices that season and worked with the Lakers’ summer league team in a coaching and scouting role.
“It was a very valuable experience,” Kolani said. “It really set the tone for what I saw myself doing and how to grow as a professional at the highest level.”
Last season, Kolani coached boys college basketball at Glendale Academy in addition to working as a private player development coach, which she has done for the past six years.
Kolani replaces Joe Wyatt, who was fired by El Camino Real earlier this month after 15 years at school.
The Royals went 12-15 last season and qualified for the Open Division playoffs. If ECR returns to the Open Division next season, Kolani will be the first woman to coach in the Open Division men’s basketball playoffs in sectional history.
“At the end of the day I think it’s great to be one of the first, but I also think I’m a coach like everyone else and so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to coach children and have an impact,” said Kolani. “Hopefully I will create lifelong memories with the kids I will be working with this coming season.”