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Coach Spotlight: Meet Basketball Coach Omar Munoz

In this story of Coach Spotlight, we're thrilled to introduce you to Coach Omar Munoz. This upcoming season, Coach Omar will be a Varsity Assistant Girls Basketball Coach at California High School in Whittier, CA. Coach Omar takes on this new role after spending the last 8 seasons as a Junior Varsity Head Coach and 1 season as both Junior Varsity and Freshman Head Coach. Coach Omar holds a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology, Sports Psychology, and Leadership, and has also received training from the Drew Hanlen Next Mentorship Program. With a coaching career spanning 13 years and counting, Coach Omar attributes the success of his journey to one word: passion; passion not just for basketball, but also to give his all to develop and grow his athletes both on and off the court. Join us in welcoming Basketball Coach Omar Munoz to Coach Spotlight.

What's your earliest memory of basketball?

There is a unique story in my family that involves basketball and myself. As my mother was signing me up for kindergarten, the person in charge of determining whether I was ready for school or not was confused as to why I was counting by 2's and 3's, asking my mother if she knew why. My older sisters who played basketball and introduced me to sports let my mother know that I was counting by basketball scores. My earliest memory of basketball was at 5 years old watching the Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz in the finals, and since then my love for the game of basketball started growing rapidly.

Which basketball player inspired you the most?

Like most people, I grew up as a Jordan fan (especially with the release of Space Jam), but as Jordan retired, I was introduced to the legend himself, Kobe Bryant. As a Celtics fan, I knew that Lakers were the rivals, but I respected Kobe from the beginning because I was a fan of the way he played night in and night out.

What impact did Kobe have on your basketball journey?

Kobe had a major part in my love of basketball being what it is today, especially being a girls basketball coach as he was a big supporter of girls basketball and was pushing for it to be more in the spotlight. I want to try and do what I can to help girls basketball grow because they work just as hard as guys and deserve that recognition. Kobe has also been a part of my coaching philosophy and has inspired me to work hard to be the best I can be at my craft.

What were your first material possessions from the basketball world?

When I was young, I was drawn to the Kobe Adidas shoes, and just a year later remember getting the famous Kobe 2s shoes. I got those shoes in silver and my friends told me they looked like space shoes but that didn't discourage me - I still wore them proud and everything. My last pair of Kobe shoes was in 2005 when I got the Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2k5 in black/blue/white without knowing they were his shoes. I remember having those shoes on all the time in junior high during PE especially when we had basketball, and as a 7th grader I would have those shoes on as much as I could while playing basketball. It wasn't until my freshman year when I grew out of those shoes and noticed "Kobe" written on the tongue of the shoes. That's when I realized they were Kobe's shoes.

What are some challenges you faced in your journey and how did you overcome them?

I was not the best athlete growing up but I still loved playing basketball. When freshman year came around, I went to basketball tryouts and worked my tail off to make the team. This memory will always stick with me because it changed me and my work ethic when it came to the game of basketball. My freshman basketball coach told me that he wanted to cut me from the team and as I was not the best athlete growing up, I understand his decision now as a 31 year old basketball coach. After he told me that I did what Kobe would do and I created my own path. It was straight and narrow. The way I looked at it was that you were either in my way or out of it, and, at that moment it was on me to either let that crush my goals or let go of it and keep playing the game I love.

Tweet from the first coach who hired Coach Omar to a high school coaching staff.
Tweet from the first coach who hired Coach Omar to a high school coaching staff.

What was your first experience in coaching?

I loved playing basketball but growing up I was even more interested in breaking down and analyzing the game. My very first coaching experience was teaching basketball to my nephew. I coached him mostly on the defensive side, but also introduced some offensive aspects of the game as well. Time passed and my nephew grew to be a Laker fan and also joined his high school basketball team. He developed a unique style of play, one that was a combination of my teachings and his skills.

When did you start coaching professionally?

I started coaching professionally in 2012 as a high school football coach, and, in 2015, I started coaching high school girls basketball. My goal was to bring the same work ethic that I had as a player with the hopes that it would rub off on my athletes. From Day 1, I wanted to try and inspire my players so that they could be great in whatever they were trying to accomplish, whether it was on or off the court.

What do you consider as your greatest accomplishments as a coach?

I have been a junior varsity head coach for the last 8 years. Many people will ask why do I take the lower level so seriously - it isn't varsity, so on and so forth. However, I remember Kobe's words, "We can always kind of be average and just do what's normal. I'm not in this to do what's normal." I guess you can say that has really been the reason I have finished second place 6 out of 8 seasons as a junior varsity coach (currently in my 9th season right now).

Coach Omar with his high school girls basketball teams.
Coach Omar with his high school girls basketball teams.

How do you keep yourself and your team motivated and competitive?

I always talk to my athletes and let them know that we are going to work hard and have high goals for the team. I will put in all the passion and work I can into the team to put my players in the best spot to succeed. As a coach, I respect the game of basketball, which is probably the reason why a couple of years ago an opposing junior varsity coach told me after the game that he had never seen a junior varsity girls team so disciplined. That has been one of the best compliments I have received for my team. My athletes play and work hard, and they play the game the right way.

What does your day look like?

I'm a walk-on coach, but I start at 1:00pm. We practice 1:00pm-3:30pm and after that we're in the weight room till 5:45pm working out on the fundamentals that correlate with the goals laid out for the season by our head coach. Sometimes, when players ask for extra time, I stay, so I usually don't leave until 6:30pm. On game days, it's different because I'm there for all 3 level games. I tell my players that if I could keep this schedule for 7 days a week, I would. But that's only because I love what I do, especially moments in the weight room where I get to see their confidence grow. Those are my payoffs as a coach.

What sets you apart from others in the field?

My background and experience is what sets me apart. Being a DACA recipient, I've had to grind for my education. I'm not the usual high school athlete turned coach or college athlete turned pro. I love to study the game of basketball and work hard at my craft 24/7. I take pride in my athletes' accomplishments, and while I am at it, I can hopefully help some of my athletes reach their goals: whether its playing college basketball or anything else.

Coach Omar celebrates with his high school girls basketball team.
Coach Omar celebrates with his high school girls basketball team.

What coaching tips and advice would you give to fellow coaches?

Stick with it, work hard and BE YOU. I've been working towards becoming a head coach of my own program and I know that day will come soon. The coaching ladder is different for everyone, but as long as you do it with passion and love what you do, it will be rewarding.

How can other coaches connect with you?

They can email me at

What is your message to your players?

I love all my players - my message to them has always been that I'll give them everything I have as their coach and all I ask from them is to give me and the game of basketball everything they have.


This story is part of our Coach Spotlight series, where we share inspirational and diverse stories of athletic coaches from all over the world. If you are a coach with an extraordinary journey, a unique coaching approach, or have witnessed incredible transformations in your athletes, we would love to feature you in Coach Spotlight. Send us your story by emailing us at

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