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Golden Kings Head Coach moves to mainland team

Date Posted: 2012-06-15

The Basketball Japan League Champion Ryukyu Golden Kings surprised everyone, telling its head coach this week he wasn’t wanted anymore.

Dai Oketani, who amassed a 147-59 record since joining the Golden Kings in 2008, and who led the team to four consecutive trips to the Final Four and two championships, was told last Friday he wasn’t getting a new contract. Undeterred, the soft-spoken Oketani was unemployed for less than 24 hours, signing a new contract as head coach for the Iwate Big Bulls.

Oketani had been thought interested in going to his hometown, Kyoto, and a chance with the Kyoto Hannaryz when he left Okinawa, but that wasn’t the way it went down. Shinji Tomiyama wasn’t offered a new contract as Big Bulls head coach, clearing the way for Oketani’s hiring.

The 34-year-old Oketani becomes the third coach in the league’s history to lead three teams, following on the heels of Sendai 89ers coach Bob Pierce, who also led the Akita Northern Happinets and Shiga Lakestars, and Motofumi Aoki, who was head coach for the Tokyo Apache, Takamatsu Five Arrows and Shinshu Brave Warriors.

And now, add one more for Aoki, who’s been named first head coach for the BJL’s newest expansion team, the Tokyo Cinq Reves. Aoki, a six-time All-Star guard, formerly played for the now out-of-business Tokyo Apache.

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