Photo courtesy of Nubia Allen


“We loved our time in Big Sky, we made a lot of friends who became family. Big Sky is a big part of our lives. It’s a great community,” Nubia Allen said.

Nubia (Garcia) Allen is the picture of composure when she paces the sidelines as head coach of the West Yellowstone Lady Wolverines. She presented that same sense of calm when she was head coach for the Lone Peak Lady Big Horns.

It is not forced or rehearsed, but rather intrinsic to her nature.

Her quiet, unruffled way helped her recently lead the Lady Wolverines to become the 11C Champions and to a third place finish in Western C Divisionals – they lost by two points to Manhattan Christian.

“We should have won that game. We were the better team, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” she said.

Allen also was calm when she led the Lady Big Horns to become 11C District Champions for the first time in school history during her 2014-2017 tenure.

Nine years playing on the Mexican National Team primed her to excel in the sport and face challenges with quiet confidence. Yet, she could not know the challenge she would face when she embarked on her journey from the flat desert of her childhood home in Mexico to Utah for her senior year of high school. She did not know how to speak any english. It was a difficult time in her life. Sometimes good things come from those moments of forced growth, like when she visited Bozeman to explore going to school at Montana State University and discovered friendly, unassuming people in a mountain oasis a far cry from the desert heat and big city bred mistrust of her childhood hometown – Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico.

“I love it here. That’s one of the reasons why I chose Montana. It’s so pretty. People are so friendly. It’s so different [from Chihuahua]. Living in a small town, I love it. I love the feeling of feeling safe and knowing everyone,” she said.

She found her home and would become the Montana State University Big Sky Conference Woman of the Year for 2009 and ended-up on the cover of the NCAA Champions magazine thanks to her skill on the court and her photography.

Allen also found her husband – a “Montana boy”. Shortly after their marriage, she became a U.S. citizen, something she describes as a special moment in her life.

“It was an honor. It was very cool,” she said.

She tried every other sport she could think of as a kid – gymnastics, soccer, track and swimming and at nine years old finally settled on the family tradi- tion of playing basketball.

“My whole family plays basketball, that’s all we do. They have all gone on to play college ball either in Mexico or here,” she said.

It is likely to be a tradition carried on by her own children, ages eight, seven and four.

“The eight year old is playing basketball. They have been at the gym since the day they were born. They have been around basketball,” she said, noting that even the four year old knows how to dribble.

Her love of basketball extends beyond the sport itself and to the path that presented itself because she could play.

“I’ve done it my whole life. It has given me almost everything that I have. The opportunity to come to America was because of basketball. It has taught me discipline, it has taught me responsibility. It is just a big part of who I am,” she said. “The main one is it brought me to Bozeman, it brought me to Montana to meet my husband. Now, I love it even more. Just the connection and teaching it– seeing the players improve has made it so rewarding.”

She said she has been for- tunate in her coaching career – both in Big Sky and in West Yellowstone.

“I’ve been very lucky to have girls that want to win and are willing to put the work in,” she said.

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