Coach Spotlight: Alaska Anchorage's Shaina Afoa
Shaina Afoa was awarded the 2017-18 National Assistant Coach of the Year Award from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Shaina Afoa was awarded the 2017-18 National Assistant Coach of the Year Award from the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Shaina Afoa
Shaina Afoa

Friday, October 26, 2018

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. Collectively, it is these individuals who make the GNAC one of the top NCAA Division II athletic conferences in the nation.

Name: Shaina Afoa
Sport: Women’s Basketball
School:  Alaska Anchorage
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

Colleges Attended: Central Washington and University of Alaska Anchorage.

College Major/Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, emphasis on graphic design and graduate certificate in human services.

Who Has Influenced You The Most As A Coach - Either As An Inspiration, A Mentor, Or Philosophically: My dad, Stan Afoa. I had the opportunity every year before I would head back to CWU for the school year to help him coach his JV volleyball team. At first glance my dad can come off as an intimidating man, but somehow he was able to relate to these 14 year old girls and make them believe in themselves. He made me approach coaching with a different mindset. I was in complete awe of the impact he had on his teams.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome As A Coach: I was in a unique situation and had my little sister (Sierra Afoa) on the team my second year coaching at UAA. Creating the boundary of coach/sister/friend made it difficult and sometimes heart breaking. We had an unwritten rule that when we were at work it was "Coach Afoa" and when we were at home I could be "sister Shaina".  We made it work and I give her a lot of credit. I was very fortunate to get to spend that time of her life and career with her.

What Does Division II Mean To You: Division II gives student-athletes a chance to experience some life outside of hoops. The West Region (and the GNAC in particular) produce strong basketball teams that are able to compete and beat Division I teams consistently and that just shows that the level doesn't matter; good basketball is good basketball.

Best Advice You’d Give To Student-Athletes: Enjoy the moment and be present. I think today with social media we get caught up in the selfies and who is doing what and living the good life but enjoy this time with your teammates. It goes by quick!

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why): James Cordon. He just seems to have a fun life. Hopefully it would be on a day he was driving around to pick up celebrities for Carpool Karaoke.

Favorite Sports Team: The 1996 US Olympic Men’s Basketball Team. That's when I started falling in love with basketball and I geeked out on them. David Robinson became my favorite player out of that so now I claim the Spurs as my team.

Favorite Athlete: David Robinson

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Our National Championship run in 2016. Although it didn't end how we had hoped, the journey was incredible. The hosts at the Elite Eight did a great job and I just thought it couldn't get any better. Then we go to Indianapolis. It's the 35th anniversary and they hosted the DI, DII, and DIII championships at the same arena and we were given everything that the Division I team's got – police escorts, pre-tourney celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, camera crew, a box suite at the Division I Final Four games, etc. The Elite Eight was small potatoes in comparison. Our hosts, John and Pam, were unreal and turned in to friends we still keep in contact with. I could go on and on about the experience. It was unreal.