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Saturday, July 3, 2010

BJ-LEAGUE

Blackwell handed reins in Osaka

The Japan Times

It's official: Ryan Blackwell is the Osaka Evessa's new head coach, the team announced on Friday.

Blackwell, 33, has played for the Evessa for the past two seasons. The standout forward will retire and focus on coaching the team. And he has big shoes to fill. Under ex-coach Kensaku Tennichi, Osaka won three bj-league championships and 70.4 percent of its regular-season games since the team's inception in 2005.

"I'm so excited and thankful for this opportunity," said Blackwell, who played college ball at Syracuse University from 1996-2000. "Although I will miss playing, I look forward to continuing my leadership role from the sidelines. This year will be exciting to say the least.

"I will do my best to continue the great success that the Osaka Evessa have had in the past. I will work hard, and I can assure you our players will do the same."

It's been an offseason of major changes for the bj-league. The coaching landscape has shifted dramatically. Foreigners with new head coaching gigs are Zeljko Pavlicevic (Shimane Susanoo Magic), Bob Hill (Tokyo Apache), L.J. Hepp (Oita HeatDevils) and Bob Nash (Saitama Broncos). Bob Pierce, the former Shiga Lakestars bench boss, is expected to be named the Akita Northern Happinets' first coach in the coming weeks.



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