By Kevin Gilmore

Kerri NakamotoIt may seem like a contradiction, but Kerri Nakamoto came to familiar territory for the first time as she made her way up Highway 101 this summer to become the seventh head coach in Cal State Monterey Bay women’s basketball history. She’s making her third stop along the California coast after playing collegiately at the University of San Diego and serving as an assistant coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

At CSUMB, Nakamoto succeeds Renee Jimenez, who left to take a similar position at Cal State San Bernardino. Nakamoto and Jimenez will face off in a nationally televised game Feb. 15, when CSU Monterey Bay meets CSU San Bernardino in the Otter Sports Center. The game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.

Nakamoto spent the past eight seasons helping Cal Poly become a perennial Big West Conference contender. The Mustangs captured the Big West regular season titles in 2011 and 2012 before earning an NCAA Tournament bid by winning the conference championship tournament title last season.

Cal State Monterey Bay
Cal State San Bernadino
Feb. 15, 2014
Otter Sports Center
Nationally televised on the
CBS Sports Network

“The opportunity to run my own program is one I’ve always dreamed of,” Nakamoto said. “Every person I met on campus seemed to love the experience of being there and that really helped make it feel like the right fit for me.”

She served in a variety of capacities on the Cal Poly staff, including player development, academic advising and recruiting. In fact, she helped spearhead the recruiting efforts that produced the past four Big West Conference players of the year.

“Kerri brings experience, positive energy and a collaborative spirit to CSUMB women’s basketball,” said CSUMB Interim Director of Athletics Kirby Garry. “We look forward to the future of our program under her leadership.”

She joins an Otter team that has enjoyed its share of success in recent years. The Otters have advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament the past three seasons. They won the CCAA regular season championship in 2011 and the CCAA Tournament title in 2012.

While appreciating her own past successes, she’s looking forward to the opportunities at Cal State Monterey Bay.

“Over the years I’ve learned a lot to help prepare for this opportunity,” Nakamoto said. “I cannot ask for a better university to begin my journey as a new head coach.”