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Student-athlete profile series #1

Returning student missionary plans to play second basketball season for Wolves

Zayne Browning pictured in Palau with four students who played on the Palau Mission Academy basketball team that Browning coached.

Zayne Browning pictured in Palau with four students who played on the Palau Mission Academy basketball team that Browning coached.

This series highlights students who will participate in athletics at Walla Walla University during the 2018-19 academic year.

Second year WWU basketball player Zayne Browning is returning to the men's team this coming season after taking a year off to serve as a student missionary in Palau. “The most impactful part of being in Palau was getting to know all the students,” said Browning, who worked as the athletic director for Palau Mission Academy during his time on the island. “I enjoyed being able to develop personal relationships with each student through both teaching and coaching.” Browning is a health promotion major with an interest in physical therapy, and he hopes to work for either a Division I or professional sports team in the future. 

Browning grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and moved to the Walla Walla area when he was in high school. He graduated from Walla Walla Valley Academy in 2016 and signed a letter of intent to play basketball for WWU soon after. Deciding to play sports at the collegiate level was an easy decision for him. Browning’s parents were both college athletes, which made sports a big part of his life starting from a young age. “If I didn’t play I would regret it,” he said. “Plus, it keeps me focused and motivated.” 

Browning’s goal for this season was direct and to the point. “I just want to win,” he said. “I am willing to do whatever it takes to help our team win games.” WWU men's basketball coach James Hill said that Browning is a student who is both academically talented and displays the qualities and behaviors of a strong leader. Browning credits his high school basketball coach, Jeremy Vandenboer, for teaching him respect and the importance of conducting yourself properly on and off the court from a young age. 

Aside from playing sports, Browning enjoys traveling, scuba diving, fishing, surfing, and cooking. A few fun facts about Browning:
All-time favorite athlete—NBA player Manu Ginóbili.
Favorite board games—“Sorry!” and “Risk.”
Favorite places to eat in Walla Walla—Wingman and Graze.

About WWU athletics
The athletics program at WWU provides the opportunity for student athletes to develop and exercise their athletic gifts, learn leadership skills, build lasting relationships, and grow spiritually. Maintaining a mission-centered program, 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 at

Posted July 26, 2018



Last update on November 23, 2015