ATLANTA – University of Alaska Anchorage associate head coach Shaina Afoa earned the ultimate individual honor in her profession Tuesday as she was named the NCAA Div. II National Assistant Coach of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
An Anchorage native, Afoa earned the D-II honor alongside coaches from the NCAA Div. I, NCAA Div. III, NAIA, junior college and high school ranks, in voting by their peers.
In her sixth year on head coach Ryan McCarthy’s staff, the former Dimond High School star has helped the Seawolves to a 160-31 overall record, including five straight NCAA Tournament berths and a spot in the 2016 NCAA Div. II National Title Game.
This year, the Seawolves produced a 27-5 overall record and a share of the program’s fourth straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title, despite the loss of seven letterwinners – including four starters – from their 30-2 club the previous season. UAA also reached the NCAA Div. II ‘Sweet 16’ behind the play of All-GNAC First Team center Hannah Wandersee, who led the Seawolves in scoring and rebounding this year, and has been mentored by Afoa.
“Shaina is extraordinarily deserving of this honor,” said McCarthy. “She has an incredible rapport with our student-athletes and is extremely skilled in post player development. She has also been influential in mentoring our other assistant coaches, and she is respected and has terrific relationships with high school coaches around the state and the region.”
A 2017 WBCA Thirty Under 30 honoree as well, Afoa was a three-sport letterwinner at GNAC rival Central Washington from 2006-11, finishing top 10 on the basketball program’s career lists for blocks, rebounds, games started and field-goal percentage.
2018 WBCA National Assistant Coaches of the Year
NCAA Division I — Johnnie Harris, associate head coach, Mississippi State
NCAA Division II — Shaina Afoa, associate head coach, Alaska Anchorage
NCAA Division III — Olivia Lett, assistant coach, University of Chicago
NAIA — Jana Pearson, assistant coach, Vanguard
Two-Year College (JC) — Alex Furr, assistant coach, New Mexico Junior College
High School — Derek Imig, assistant coach, Blanchet Catholic (Oregon)
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