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Former UM Western women's basketball assistant coach Tony Nakashima lands head job at Walla Walla

Tony Nakashima
Posted at 6:49 AM, Jun 04, 2021

(Editor's note: Walla Walla University media release)

COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. – Director of Athletics Paul Starkebaum announced Thursday that Tony Nakashima will be the next women's basketball head coach at Walla Walla University.

"Tony is a home-run hire for the Wolves," said Starkebaum. "He has been a part of some great programs and knows what it takes to build a successful program. Tony is going to raise the level of our women's basketball program to new heights. Everyone I talked to who knows Tony talks about his professionalism, work ethic, and his ability to connect with players. Tony is going to be a great coach but he will also be building up our team off the court. Our entire program will benefit from Tony's skill set and leadership, since he will also be working as our Athletic Advancement Officer."

Nakashima has seven years of collegiate basketball under his belt, with his most recent stint at Northern State University (2020-21), serving as women's basketball assistant coach, coaching the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Freshman of the Year and an NSIC All-Conference recipient.

Nakashima brings a winning attitude to a team that is eager to get back on the basketball court.

"I feel extremely blessed and want to begin by thanking President John McVay and Athletic Director Paul Starkebaum for the opportunity to lead this women's basketball program," said Nakashima. "I am excited to begin this new chapter and see what God has in store here at Walla Walla University. I look forward to creating an environment where student-athletes can cultivate success in every area of their lives."

Prior to his time at NSU, Nakashima spent one year (2019-20) at the University of Kentucky as the women's basketball video coordinator, where the Wildcats went 22-9 overall before COVID-19 canceled the NCAA Tournament.

From 2016-19, Nakashima served as women's basketball assistant coach at the University of Montana Western (UMW), where he helped guide the Bulldogs to their first NAIA national championship during the 2018-19 season.

During his three years at UMW, the Bulldogs collected an 81-22 record and recorded three straight trips to the NAIA national tournament. In addition, Nakashima coached the NAIA and WBCA national player of the year, five All-Americans and seven Daktronics scholar-athletes.

Prior to coaching at UMW, Nakashima had coaching stints with Bethany College (Kan.), Warner Pacific (Ore.), and his alma mater, Portland Adventist Academy (PAA). In addition, he has coached Team Concept, the AAU program out of Portland, Ore.

Nakashima grew up in Portland, Ore. and went to Portland Adventist Academy and graduated from Pacific Union College in 2010 with a degree in marketing.