After serving as an assistant coach, former West Hills College Coalinga basketball standout Adedokun Olanrewaju (ahh-day-doh-kuhn oh-lan-ray-wah-ju) was named head coach of the Falcons on August 6, 2018.
Olanrewaju spent the 2017-18 season assisting his mentor and former head coach Mark Arce, who recently retired after 17 seasons at the helm of the WHCC program and 34 years overall.
As a top assistant, Olanrewaju helped guide the Falcons to a 19-8 record and a second-round CCCAA postseason appearance. The team was ranked as high as No. 5 in the state. His responsibilities included recruiting, player development, game and practice planning, fundraising, and academic study hall.
“I am grateful and thankful for this opportunity,” said Olanrewaju, who will return nine players from last season’s program and welcome more than 15 newcomers when the fall semester begins on Friday.
“I look forward to honoring coach Arce by doing my best and creating my own path in this important position. I’m excited to be part of the great West Hills staff and working with students who come to us from the Valley, California and across the country, as I did.”
Last year, Olanrewaju and his former teammates from the 2006-2007 team were inducted into the WHCC Athletic Hall of Fame.
Olanrewaju works as an adjunct Physical Education instructor at WHCC, and will now oversee the Athletics basketball courses as well. He teaches English and History on a full-time basis at Coalinga Middle School.
“Ade is entrenched in the Coalinga community and is a valued member of the Falcon family,” said WHCC associate dean of athletics Eric Mendoza.
“He cares about our student-athletes and their holistic development. We believe he is a great leader of young men and will continue demonstrating his commitment to our college mission. As someone who enjoyed success as a student-athlete at WHCC and the university level, Ade is a role model for our program. He has great character and has tremendous pride in being a Falcon.”
Olanrewaju said assistant coaches Travis Blackstock and former Falcon student-athlete Allen Mkrtychyan will remain on staff.
From 2012-2016, Olanrewaju worked at Coalinga High School as the head coach of the junior varsity team and an assistant coach of the varsity program under Jason McFarlin. During that time, the Horned Toads made consecutive trips to the Division 4 Valley championship game in 2013 and 2014.
“Ade cares about his players – more than basketball,” said McFarlin.
“He teaches the right thing to do away from the gym. He’s a perfect fit at West Hills.”
Prior to coaching at Coalinga High School, Olanrewaju began his coaching career at SUNY Maritime College in Bronx, NY from 2010-2012. During his two seasons he coached two all-conference players.
Olanrewaju completed his master's degree in Kinesiology/Physical Education from Fresno Pacific University in 2016. He also completed his B.A. degree in Maritime Studies from SUNY Maritime College in 2011; and his A.A. degree in Liberal Arts from West Hills College Coalinga in 2007.
“Ade is ready to be a head coach at the college level. He’s a winner,” said Arce.
“He understands our campus and community culture. But more than that, he knows what it takes to be successful at West Hills College Coalinga on and off the court. From recruiting to game-planning and academic study hall, Ade will make sure students are in the best position to succeed.”
Olanrewaju was born in Brooklyn, NY and prepped at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School. He found WHCC through teammates and eventually contacted Arce about joining the Falcons.
As a key member of the 2006-2007 WHCC team, coached by Arce, Olanrewaju helped lead the Falcons to the best basketball season in the history of the college. The starting forward led the team in rebounds both seasons and was a two-time all-tournament player at the Cuesta College Tournament.
The team finished the season 25-10 overall (11-3 in the Central Valley Conference) and advanced to the Elite Eight and a trip to the California state championships in Fresno.
He averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds as a sophomore. He was selected as a team captain at both WHCC and SUNY Maritime.
He has been a coach for various youth programs and AAU basketball teams, including the Lemoore Pack Nation Wolfpack.
Olanrewaju and his wife, Brenda, reside in Coalinga with their three boys Julius (12), Dominick (8), and Solomon (4).