A man who was born in Hunters Point at the southeastern corner of San Francisco,
Ramaundo Vaughn has had to overcome adversity on his way to becoming coach for the Diablo Valley College women’s basketball team.
Vaughn started coaching for DVC in 2010.
“It was my understanding that I was their third choice,” said Vaughn. “It didn’t matter to me. I just wanted to get back and coach.”
It only took a few years for Vaughn to turn the Vikings into a championship caliber team. Several of his players expressed gratitude towards Vaughn for his contributions as a coach, including guard Sierra Smith.
“It’s different playing for a coach that you know believes in you and I think that shows within (our) confidence of us as players,” said Smith. “He’s definitely a great leader. He knows basketball so well. It’s great playing under him and just learning from him.”
While Vaughn has dedicated energy and passion to the game of basketball for these young women, off the court, he has developed relationships with each of his players.
“(He’s) probably one of the best coaches that I’ve had or I’ve come across. Just the fact that he rides you so tough but he also has love for you at the end of the day,” said guard Daisha Abdelkader. “His riding and all his yelling, and all his screaming and stuff, and all his anger, is out of love.”
Abdelkader said she has a good relationship with Vaughn both on and off the court.
“At the end of the day, he wants you to become a better person, a better basketball player, a better woman in general,” she said.
Vaughn started playing basketball when he was in second grade, and has always loved to play the game.
“We came up in an era where there weren’t video games and there weren’t all of the different distractions that they have today. Basketball is a really easy sport to play because you don’t need a bunch of equipment,” said Vaughn. “I just was a guy who loved to play. I got good enough to where I was able to get a scholarship to Washington State University.”
After his college days, Vaughn went to Australia to play professional basketball for a number of years. Although it wasn’t the NBA, Vaughn was still thrilled to play basketball for a living, he said.
“I couldn’t believe that somebody was actually going to pay me to play basketball,” said Vaughn. “But I made some lifelong friends (with) people that I still keep in touch with to this day.”
Vaughn has garnered interest in regards to other coaching jobs, but insisted he’s not a better coach simply because he won a state championship.
“I don’t think I’m any better of a coach now than I was two years ago,” said Vaughn. “Winning a state championship elevates you.”
Vaughn is also friends with Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. He gets occasional opportunities to work with the NBA superstar.
“The person that you guys read about, the person that you see on TV, that’s who he is.Steph is genuinely a kind, nice guy,” said Vaughn. “He’s very family oriented, he’s generous. I’m able to work with him and all of our interactions are just amazing. We spend time together during the summers when he’s working out.”
Vaughn also said Curry is willing to go out of his way to give a shoutout to anyone who asks.
“He’ll make a quick ten-second video for you,” Vaughn said. “As corny as it sounds, being around Steph and talking to Steph, he makes you want to be a better person.”
During the offseason, Vaughn enjoys fishing – although he is not very skilled at it, he said.
“I’m a fisherman who never catches fish,” said Vaughn. “I go fishing a couple times a week and I come home with nothing, much more often than I come home with something. I’m probably the world’s worst fisherman. But I think the fish like me because I seem to donate a lot of bait.”
ff the court, Vaughn keeps a close relationship with his father. It’s a newer development, and he expressed gratitude about having his dad in his life.
“My dad wasn’t in my life when I was young, but as I got older and to this day, my dad is great,” said Vaughn. “He’s a funny old guy. He’s a big influence on me. But for whatever reason, he and my mom had their own issues when I was growing up, so I didn’t see him often.”
Vaughn’s sister, Alesha Coleman, is a few years older than Vaughn and spoke glowingly about her relationship with her brother.
“He has always been the brother that had a big heart. As kids he and I were first friends for each other,” said Coleman. “We have always been close, whether he was away at college or living abroad in a different state.”
Vaughn’s parents had children young, and his mother struggled with drug problems, which meant his grandmother raised the two children.
“Our mother was a beautiful soul with a substance abuse problem. She did the best she could. We loved her so much,” said Coleman. “Our grandmother was heaven sent. She taught us to treat people like you want to be treated and that meant everybody.”
Arice Pittman has known Ramaundo since their days at George Washington High School in San Francisco, and they grew close through the game of basketball.
“(We) remain best friends to the day,” said Pittman. “Throughout our four years in high school, we learned that we had a lot in common as far as our upbringing.”
Pittman is also a big fan of Ramaundo’s work as a head coach, and continues to cheer him from the sidelines.
“If you’re going to have him as a coach, my advice would be to trust him, and to listen to his message,” said Pittman.
The DVC Women’s basketball team trusted that message – and won a state title as a result.