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Boettcher leaves Lakestars to take over Southern Utah’s women’s program

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Chris Boettcher’s stint as Shiga Lakestars head coach lasted one season.

Boettcher has been named Southern Utah University’s women’s basketball head coach, multiple media outlets in Utah reported on Friday.

Shiga has not yet made an announcement about its coaching plans for the 2014-15 season.

“We are excited to have a coach of Chris’ character take over a program which has a very solid foundation in place,” SUU athletics director Ken Beazer was quoted as saying, according to the Deseret News. “He brings a tremendous amount of experience coaching at the highest level and has shown exceptional dedication to the recruiting and development of student-athletes.”

The 45-year-old Boettcher will be introduced as the Thunderbirds’ new coach on June 6, according to published reports.

The Lakestars went 27-25 during the regular season, tying the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix for the third-best record in the Western Conference.

Shiga, the West’s No. 3 playoff seed, eliminated the Osaka Evessa in the first round, advancing after winning the mini-game tiebreaker. The Lakestars then fell to the Kyoto Hannaryz in the conference semifinals in the Game 3 tiebreaker. All told, Shiga went 30-28 under Boettcher.

The Kansai franchise has had five consecutive winning seasons, and, most notably in 2013-14, Boettcher guided the club to an 18-8 regular-season record at home.

Before replacing Al Westover, who was at the helm from 2011-13 as Shiga head coach, Boettcher was an assistant coach for the BYU women’s team (2009-13) and assistant coach for the Utah Valley State women’s team (2001-09).

NBA ties: Toyama Grouses coach Bob Nash became the fourth former NBA player to lead a team into the bj-league Final Four, joining Joe “Jellybean” Bryant (Tokyo Apache), John Neumann (Rizing Fukuoka) and Reggie Geary (Yokohama B-Corsairs).

Looking ahead: The Ryukyu Golden Kings and Akita Northern Happinets, who clashed in Sunday’s title game at Ariake Colosseum, will meet again in the run-up to the 2014-15 season.

The league announced on Saturday — and also featured a two-page advertisement in the Final Four program — that the teams will compete on Sept. 13 at Ota City Gymnasium.