PLNU Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach Grace Ricafranca Selected for WBCA Next Generation Institute 

Coach Ricafranca. Photo Credit to PLNU Athletics.

Point Loma Nazarene University’s women’s assistant basketball coach, Grace Ricafranca, was selected for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) Next Generation Institute program for 2024. 

Every year, WBCA selects assistant coaches from across the country to participate in the Next Generation Institute, a program designed for assistant coaches who aim to become a head coach at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels. 

The WBCA Next Generation Institute conference takes place in April in Cleveland, Ohio. Ricafranca is excited to learn more about coaching at this conference.

“I’m excited to grow and work on my leadership as a coach. To network, meet new people and share wisdom,” Ricafranca said. “The dream for me has always been to be a head coach, so it feels like this is a stepping stone to reach that opportunity.”

Before coming to PLNU, Ricafranca was an assistant coach for Pepperdine University for two years, and she also served in the lead assistant position for five years at Biola University. This is Ricafranca’s third year as an assistant coach for PLNU women’s basketball. 

“It has been an incredible experience,” Ricafranca said. “I’ve enjoyed working with the athletes that we have and their love for one another and the people around them. It’s been such a joy to be a part of.” 

WBCA Next Generation Institute focuses on problem solving, leadership development and CEO attributes needed to lead a program. Ricafranca said these concepts are exactly what she wants to learn and build on from the things she has learned from Charity Elliot, PLNU’s women’s basketball head coach.

“I’m so fortunate for Charity Elliott [Women’s Basketball Head Coach], I’ve learned so much from her,” Ricafranca said. “I think just continuing on getting similar knowledge, wisdom and experience and really learning how do you build it [a program] and how to create something successful.”

Fourth-year guard Ellie Turk has worked with Ricafranca for three years in her time playing basketball for PLNU. Turk said she is proud of her coach for being selected for WBCA Next Generation Institute. 

“This recognition reflects her dedication to coaching and her commitment to continuous learning and improvement,” Turk said via email. “I believe her involvement in this institute will bring fresh perspectives, innovative strategies and valuable networking opportunities back to our team.”

First-year guard Hannah Golan admires Ricafranca and is excited about Ricafranca’s selection to WBCA Next Generation Institute. 

“Coach Grace is someone I look up to as a mentor not just for basketball, but also life in general,” Golan said via email. “While being one of my biggest fans, Coach Grace is also very good at communicating hard things in a motivating way.”

Ricafranca focuses on guard skill development as well as recruiting and scouting. She has coached the Sea Lions to two PacWest semi-finals in her time at PLNU and is looking forward to future successes.

“I’m excited for the opportunity and thankful for the possibility to learn and grow,” Ricafranca said. “I would love to thank Ethan Hamilton — our athletic director — Charity Elliott, my family, my spiritual direction group and my friends.”