Cultivating success

Nakashima joins the pack as the lady Wolves' new basketball coach


After a year without a normal athletics schedule, the lady Wolves basketball team will be bringing it on the court—this year led by a new coach. Tony Nakashima has joined the pack as the next women's basketball head coach at Walla Walla University.

"Tony is a homerun hire for the Wolves," said director of athletics, Paul Starkebaum. "Everyone I talked to who knows Tony speaks of his professionalism, work ethic, and his ability to connect with players.” 

Nakashima brings a winning attitude to a team that is eager to get back on the basketball court. Tony’s skillset and leadership will shine not only as a coach, but also in the role of athletic advancement officer for the athletics program. 

Nakashima says, "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." In pursuit of that goal, Nakashima believes that coaching should focus on honesty, respect, discipline, and hard work. 

Nakashima has seven years of collegiate basketball under his belt, with his most recent stint at Northern State University (NSU) serving as women's basketball assistant coach for the 2020–21 school year. Prior to his time at NSU, Nakashima served for three years as the women's basketball assistant coach at the University of Montana Western (UMW), where he helped guide the Bulldogs to their first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship during the 2018–19 season.

Before coaching at UMW, Nakashima had coaching stints with Bethany College, Kansas; Warner Pacific, Oregon; and his alma mater, Portland Adventist Academy, Oregon. In addition, he has coached Team Concept, the AAU program out of Portland, Oregon.

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

The first lady Wolves basketball home game will be on November 14.

About WWU athletics
The athletics program at Walla Walla University provides the opportunity for student athletes to develop and exercise their athletic abilities, learn leadership skills, build lasting relationships, and grow spiritually. Maintaining a mission-centered approach, the WWU athletics program promotes a healthy, balanced life—body, mind, and soul—for their athletes through sport. 

Athletic opportunities include men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Learn more and view upcoming games at

Posted Aug. 30, 2021.

Tony Nakashima points from the sidelines of the basketball court.
Nakashima is looking forward to creating an environment where student athletes can cultivate success in every area of their lives.
Headshot of a smiling Tony Nakamura
Tony Nakashima is a "homerun hire for the Wolves" according to the director of athletics.