|| Dave Nakama
Regarded among the nation's finest assistant coaches and a reason why Stanford continues to develop some of the top players in collegiate baseball, Dave Nakama is in his 10th season and second stint on The Farm in 2009.
Working primarily with Stanford's infielders and hitters while serving as the Cardinal first base coach during the season, Nakama also plays a primary role in the program's highly respected recruiting efforts. His nationwide evaluations have helped the Cardinal land recruiting classes that have ranked in Baseball America's top-10 during four of the last eight years.
Nakama, who previously was on the Cardinal staff from 1997-98, returned to The Farm in 2002 after spending three seasons as the head coach at San Francisco State (1999-2001). In his nine campaigns overall with the Cardinal, he has helped lead Stanford to four College World Series appearances, three NCAA Super Regional titles, five NCAA Regional crowns, four Pac-10 championships and a 367-188-3 (.660) overall record.
"Dave Nakama is a great coach," commented Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. "He is dedicated to the kids and our program, and he is extremely knowledgeable. There is no part of the game he can't coach, and he has the respect of our players. We are very fortunate to have someone of Dave's caliber on our staff."
Along with tutoring the club's infielders and hitters, Nakama focuses much of his efforts on developing Stanford's younger players. His guidance continued to play dividends in 2008, as Stanford's College World Series infield featured a pair of freshmen on the left side (third baseman Zach Jones and shortstop Jake Schlander), a MLB draft choice at second (Cord Phelps), and an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection at first (Brent Milleville). Schlander became the first shortstop in Stanford history to start each game as a freshman, while Phelps' .351 batting average and .975 fielding percentage vaulted him into the third round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Nakama has also helped with the recent development of Chris Minaker, who blossomed into a third-team All-American and All-Pac-10 selection during his 2006 senior year. Some of Nakama's other pupils include Jed Lowrie (a two-time All-American and the 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year) and John Mayberry, Jr. (a first round pick in the 2005 MLB First-Year Player Draft). Lowrie held down the starting shortstop duties during the final months of his 2008 rookie season with the Boston Red Sox, while Minaker (Seattle Mariners) and Mayberry (Texas Rangers) continue to climb the ladder in their respective organizations.
Since Nakama's return to the Cardinal in 2002, Stanford has posted each of the top five single-season fielding percentages in school history, including a record .977 mark in 2005. That club also set the school standard with a mere 51 errors in 59 games. Under Nakama's guidance, Stanford has ranked among the top-10 of NCAA Division I fielding in four of the last seven campaigns. The Cardinal's .975 fielding percentage in 2008 was the third-best ever on The Farm, led the Pac-10 and ranked ninth nationally.
Stanford's offense has also done well with Nakama assisting with the instruction. The club posted its second-best offensive campaign in history during his first season in 1997 with a .334 batting average, and has hit .305 or better in six of his nine years overall.
"Dave is one of the very best infield coaches in college baseball, as well as a good teacher of hitting and the offensive game," explained Marquess. "His work ethic and coaching abilities have played a big role in our success."
"It is a privilege and honor to be on the baseball coaching staff at Stanford," said Nakama. "To work at a prestigious place like Stanford and for a college baseball coaching icon like Mark Marquess is an opportunity that I am very thankful for. I greatly appreciate what Mark Marquess has done for my coaching career and family. It has been a great atmosphere to raise two boys. Stanford Baseball is one of the best programs in the country, and the experiences and players that I have been associated with have made it an amazing ride."
Prior to his first tenure at Stanford, Nakama spent five seasons as the head coach at Mission Junior College (1992-96) and led his squad to the California State Tournament in each of his final two campaigns. He was named the 1996 Coast Conference Coach of the Year.
Nakama also served as an assistant at Northern Colorado (1984-86), Iowa (1986-88), Yavapai College (1988-90) and DeAnza College (1990-91) before his first head coaching job.
In the summers of 2000 and 2001, the Honolulu native was the skipper of the Hawaii Island-Movers summer baseball squad after serving as the team's associate head coach from 1994-96.
Nakama earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education at Willamette in 1984 before picking up a Master's degree in Physical Education from Northern Colorado in 1986. He has three children - Samantha, a former student administrative assistant with the Arizona State baseball program and current intern in the Kansas athletic department, Kirk and former Cardinal batboy Brodie.