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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Westover named Shiga's new coach

Staff report

The Shiga Lakestars have handed the coaching reins to veteran sideline supervisor Alan Westover for the 2011-12 season, the bj-league club announced on Friday evening.

Westover, 56, guided the Melbourne Tigers to a pair of National Basketball League titles (2005-06 and 2007-08) in Australia. He was fired in early February, when his team had a 6-12 record and was stuck in eighth place in the nine-team circuit.

Hirokazu Nema, who was promoted to head coach after Takatoshi Ishibashi's dismissal in February, and led the Lakestars to an 11-5 record the rest of the season and a spot in the Western Conference playoff semifinals, will return to Shiga as Westover's assistant coach.

Westover, born in Napa Valley, California, served as a lead assistant for Melbourne from 1992-2005, including two more title-winning campaigns (1992-93 and 1996-97). He played as a guard for the University of the Pacific from 1972-76 before embarking on a pro career as a player and coach in Australia.

An article in the Melbourne newspaper The Age from 2005, when Westover replaced Tigers coach Lindsay Gaze, described him as an "animated coach . . . stomping around in his trademark cowboy boots and pumping his arms to celebrate a good play. . ."

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