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Friday, 25th November 2011
In Sports, Japan Sports News,

Basketball: Broncos hire first female head coach

Japan’s Saitama Broncos have become the first men’s basketball team in the country to hire a female head coach.

Natalie Nakase, of Japanese-American extraction, received the honour following the dismissal of Broncos’ current coach, Dean Murray.

American basketball-veteran Murray was let go due to what the team described as a violation of his contract.

The 31-year-old was pleased about her new role, having previously coached the women’s team in Germany, but expressed sadness at the reasons for her appointment.

She said: “I know these aren’t the best circumstances in which to be hired. But I will do everything possible to get the job done. There is a lot of talent on this team.”

Last season, Nakase acted as assistant coach for the Tokyo Apache under the leadership of NBA coach Bob Hill as they took part in the Eastern Conference.

Nakase played four seasons in the National Women’s Basketball League before it was disbanded, and spent the years 1999 to 2003 at the University of California, Los Angeles.

She is set for a challenge in getting her team in gear as Broncos are currently placed seventh in the Eastern Conference, which is a ten-team league.

In other basketball news, Chunichi Dragon manager Hiromitsu Ochiai has finally handed in the towel after a successful eight years with the team, the Japan Times reported.

Ochiai helped the side take the title of the Japan Series for the first time in 56 years back in 2007.

There were no fireworks to celebrate his time with the team, however, as the manager humbly made his way through the halls of the Yahoo Dome.

Speaking in a characteristically low tone, he said: “I feel sorry, but I have no regrets.

“Given the circumstances, these guys got us here. I give the credit to them. I’ll be gone, but just hope they’ll use what they’ve done and continue to do their jobs,” the news provider quoted.

Posted by Mark Smith