Tennichi, Evessa part ways

The Japan Times

As expected, Kensaku Tennichi is finished as the head coach of the Osaka Evessa after a five-year stint. The bj-league team made the announcement on Monday, saying it is entering a new era and is going in a different direction. Tennichi’s top assistant, Yasushi Higa, also didn’t have his contract renewed.

With Tennichi at the helm, the Evessa won the league’s first three titles, reached the Final Four last season and returned to the championship game on May 23 at Ariake Colosseum, where they were beaten by the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix.

Tennichi compiled a 162-68 regular-season record (70.4 percent winning percentage) as the Evessa head coach. For a historical comparison, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson has a 70.5 winning percentage in the regular season, dating back to 1989-90 when he took over the Chicago Bulls.

In related news, the Toyama Grouses announced Tuesday they have parted ways with Charles Johnson after a 17-35 season. The Grouses had the second-worst record in the league, tied with the Saitama Broncos and the Kyoto Hannaryz. Johnson, a former Broncos bench boss, coached Toyama for one season.

The Grouses named Kohei Eto, who turns 28 in December, the team’s new coach. He served as Johnson’s assistant for the 2009-10. His coaching career began in 2006, when he guided an Ishikawa Prefecture collegiate select team.

Saitama, meanwhile, fired Masato Fukushima after one season, the team said Tuesday. He had previously coached the Grouses, starting in their inaugural season (2006-07) until November 2008. Fukushima has never had a winning season while coaching in the bj-league.