By Jimmy Allinder
Kevin Faw has big shoes to fill, and he knows it. But he isn’t intimidated about being the new coach of the East Brunswick High School girls’ basketball team.
Faw takes over for Keith Lane, who guided a program that had fallen on hard times to a 59-17 record over three years and the 2015-16 Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament title. A native of Quincy, Washington, this is Faw’s first opportunity to coach a girls’ team, but he is confident he can successfully make the transition.
“The basics of the game do not change, and I believe I bring a lot of experience to this program,” Faw said. “I may have to adjust my coaching style a bit, but the philosophy I developed and adjusted over the years will produce athletes who demonstrate character on the court and for the rest of their lives.”
Faw began his coaching career in 2007 as an assistant boys basketball coach at Mead High School in Spokane. In 2010, he and his wife, Meara, moved to Seattle where she worked toward earning a Ph.D. at the University of Washington. Faw became the assistant boys’ basketball and baseball coach at nearby Shorewood High School that year and in 2013, he was elevated to the school’s head boys’ basketball coaching position.
In 2014, the couple moved to New Jersey when Faw’s wife accepted a faculty position in the Rutgers University School of Communications. Faw joined the East Brunswick school district teaching eighth-grade history and became assistant boys’ basketball coach at Middlesex County College.
Faw took off the 2015-16 season to focus on his teaching duties but admitted he was chomping at the bit to get back into coaching. When Lane resigned, Faw applied for the job.
“What convinced us Kevin was the right person for the position was his background in Washington and here, plus he was a teacher in the district,” athletic director Chris Yannazzo said. “Combined with his strong personality and the fact he was already part of the East Brunswick family, we felt strongly Kevin had a good understanding of our core values.”
On the job since Nov. 21, Faw has had an opportunity to get to know his prospective team — and for the players to learn his expectations. The preseason previews have been positive, although two players who had important roles in the Bears’ championship season a year ago — Sabria Glasgow and Shonelle Colmon — decided not to play this year. Even so, Faw is optimistic moving forward.
“The group has quickly adapted to the new system, and everybody is working hard,” Faw said. “We have strong leadership [in junior point guard Nicole Johnson and senior post player Dharati Patel, who are both team captains], and that has helped our underclassmen with their development.”
Faw said the team’s success will ultimately rest with how the players come together.
“The competition in the GMC is fierce and the girls will have to be unselfish and play like a team on the floor,” the coach said. “But I’m very much looking forward to this opportunity and can’t wait for the season to begin.”
East Brunswick plays in the competitive Red Division and will kick off the season Dec. 16 when it hosts Edison High School.