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Vanessa Nygaard

Windward School (Los Angeles, Calif.) girls basketball head coach Vanessa Nygaard served as an assistant coach for the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Cup Team that won a gold medal and earned a 7-0 record at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup this past summer in Belarus. 

Nygaard previously helped the USA to a gold medal as an assistant coach for the 2017 USA U16 national team, and she served as a court coach at the 2013 USA Women’s U16 National Team Trials.

As a USA Basketball athlete, she suited up for the West Team at the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival, which finished with the silver medal.

Nygaard took the reins at Windward in 2012-13, after serving as the associate head coach there for three seasons (2008-09 to 2011-12).

Now in her seventh season as Windward’s girls basketball head coach, Nygaard through 2017-18 owned a 157-28 record (.849 winning percentage) as the program’s head coach.

Her 2017-18 squad finished 27-3 and captured a California Interscholastic Federation Southern Regional championship and a CIF State Open Division Championship.

In 2016-17, Nygaard guided Windward to a 30-4 record and a CIF Division I state championship.

She led her squad to a 20-7 record in 2015-16.

Following a 22-10 campaign in 2014-15, which included a second-straight Southern Section Division 4AA title, Nygaard earned a third-straight CIF Southern Section Divisional Coach of the Year honor (2013, 2014 and 2015).

The 2013-14 saw Windward earn a section title and a 26-3 record.

In her inaugural campaign as head coach in 2012-13, Nygaard led her team to a 32-1 record, including 32-straight wins. Her squad won a Southern Section championship and a SoCal Open Division regional championship before falling in the CIF State Open Division final. She earned Southern California Girls Basketball Coach of the Year from the Los Angeles Times and State Rookie Coach of the Year by California Coaches Association.

A standout player at Stanford University from 1994-95 through 1997-98, Nygaard played in three NCAA Final Fours with the Cardinal. During her four seasons, she helped Stanford amass a 113-14 overall record while claiming four Pacific-10 Conference titles. She was named All-Pac 10 first team and All-Pac 10 Academic second team as a senior. 

To this day, Nygaard ranks among Stanford’s all-time 3-point shooters. Among individual career records, she is fifth in 3-pointers made (210), sixth in 3-point attempts (536) and tied for sixth in 3-point percentage (.392). In Stanford’s all-time single-season lists, she is 11th for 3-pointers made (75) and seventh for 3-point attempts (193) and 3-point percentage (.460). Finally in the Cardinal single-game records, Nygaard is tied with five players for second in 3-point attempts (15) and tied for sixth with nine players for 3-pointers made (7). 

Nygaard graduated with a degree in American studies in 1998. She currently is pursuing a master’s degree in sports and athletic administration from Gonzaga University.

Selected in the fourth round (39th overall) of the 1998 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty, Nygaard went on to play six seasons in the WNBA. Missing the 1998 season due to injury, Nygaard was a starter with the Portland Fire in 2000 and 2001 and with the Miami Sol in 2002. She also played for the Cleveland Rockers and Los Angeles Sparks, advancing to the WNBA Finals with the Sparks in 2003. During the WNBA offseason, she played professionally in Germany (2001), Spain (1999) and Italy (1998). 

After her playing career, Nygaard began coaching as an assistant for the University of California, Long Beach in 2003-04 and then for four years at Pepperdine University (2004-2008).         

In 2008, Nygaard was an assistant for the San Antonio Silver Stars, where she helped the team to the 2008 WNBA Finals.

She also serves as Windward’s senior associate athletic director.

Nygaard resides in Culver City, Ca with her wife Kristine and their three children, Emerson, Bryce and Avery.


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