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Calabasas Courier Online

-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

Palarz voted into SoCal Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Palarz+voted+into+SoCal+Jewish+Sports+Hall+of+Fame
https://www.scjewishsportshof.org/

Varsity boys basketball coach Jon Palarz has been elected into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Los Angeles Times prep sports columnist Eric Sondheimer announced the election via a tweet, and Palarz later confirmed.

Palarz says that he was called by one of the members of the Hall of Fame committee who was aware of his life in sports and nominated him. 

“They have a group of voters who determine their [induction into] the Hall of Fame, and I was notified about a month ago that I was offered an induction if I would accept it, and I accepted it,” said Palarz. “Then the news media, such as the L.A. Times writer Eric Sondheimer publicized the news.” 

The induction is set to happen on June 23rd at the Skirball Cultural Center. 

Considering Coach Palarz’s tremendous appreciation and love for the sport of basketball, it was obviously a moving experience for him to be recognized by the Hall of Fame. 

“It was humbling. I didn’t know that they would consider someone like me, a high school coach, even though this is my 29th year of high school coaching.”

Coach Palarz’s love for basketball began the moment he was old enough to understand the sport, perhaps even before. He grew up near UCLA, his parents were graduates of UCLA, and they frequently attended the basketball games there. 

“From the time I was three to about 14, UCLA won ten national championships. UCLA basketball was like the family religion.” 

Even though basketball was clearly a crucial part of Coach Palarz’s upbringing, he wasn’t always headed in that direction. 

“I played golf in college, but our college golf coach was also the basketball coach. So he connected me with a local YMCA in Connecticut, where I began coaching YMCA youth basketball as a community service activity while I was in college. And that’s how I got started coaching basketball.” 

He even went to graduate school at Harvard for a history degree, but found his way back to California to teach and coach at Harvard-Westlake, per the encouragement of his high school English teacher. 

Palarz mentions the great role model he found in Coach John Wooden, the coach who led UCLA through those national championships and the creator of the Pyramid of Success, the system that helped Wooden to win the most NCAA championships in tournament history. 

“I was fortunate enough to meet him and get to know him and attend his camps and then coach in his camps. So to be a basketball coach seemed like a very important thing to do in life.”

Palarz also teaches AP U.S. History at CHS, along with coaching, putting his history degree to use, and has found a successful balance between the two. Although he admits that it is challenging due to the amount of work that both require, he is able to still give it his all and the results make it clear. 

“I think that really the characteristics of being a good coach and being a good teacher are kind of the same thing. You have to try to get young people to work hard and work together and seek to meet challenges and learn how to do their best. So it’s really kind of the same mentality being a teacher and a coach.”

Palarz’s mindset is most likely a significant factor in him being elected for a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Coach Palarz also made sure to include his gratitude and appreciation for the community that he’s made during his time in Calabasas. 

“The years I’ve been at Calabasas High School and the support of our athletes, parents, and my colleagues here at school, the community as a whole, have made for a successful basketball program. Certainly, I owe this honor to our Calabasas community.”

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Phoebe Hartford, Staff Writer
Hi! I'm Phoebe Hartford and this is my first year with the Courier. I'm going to be a staff writer this year, and I'm looking forward to it! Writing is one of my biggest passions, so I'm excited that I get to be a part of this and learn from everyone else on the Courier. I also love listening to music, going to concerts, experiencing new things, and meeting new people.
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