When Bill Cartwright arrived in Japan to take over as the Osaka Evessa’s new coach in January, he embraced the adventure of experiencing the culture and traveling around the country.
But the longtime NBA player and former Chicago Bulls head coach said in an exclusive interview that family concerns were the chief reason he won’t be back with the bj-league team for the 2013-14 season.
“I’ve known for some time now I would not be returning to Evessa,” Cartwright wrote in an email to The Japan Times on Sunday. “I really enjoyed the Japanese people, team and culture. I will miss it. But it’s just too far away from home and family.”
The 55-year-old Cartwright, who grew up near Sacramento, California, resides in the Chicago metropolitan area.
“My father is getting up there in age and I have six sisters and tons of friends,” Cartwright stated in the email. “As I get older, I must think about the things that are really important. I appreciate the opportunity the Evessa gave me, (and) hopefully we’re both better because of it.”
The Evessa went 17-11 under Cartwright, who took over a 5-19 team the day after the All-Star Game and steered it in the right direction.
Osaka issued a press release on Saturday stating that Cartwright’s tenure as coach had ended without elaborating on the move.
The Western Conference team plans to announce its new head coach on Monday. The team’s new president, Motofumi Iguchi, who joined the organization in May, is expected to name a young Japanese as the new bench boss, according to multiple league sources.