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Veteran bench boss Bob Nash, who has led the Toyama Grouses to sustained success since 2012, is returning to lead the bj-league club for the 2015-16 campaign.

The Grouses made the announcement on Monday, confirming the expected news.

As the bj-league enters its 11th season — its final campaign before the planned launch of the Japan Professional Basketball League in the fall of 2016 — Nash is now the longest-tenured coach in the Eastern Conference and one of the familiar faces in the league’s coaching ranks.

“I’m grateful to have this opportunity to return to the Grouses basketball organization and to continue our pursue of a championship,” Nash said in a statement. “In the past three years, the Toyama Grouses organization has elevated its operational model to better serve the fans, boosters and sponsors. Our players and the coaching staff are provided with the instruments to be successful.

“This is an important time in our organization, as we position ourselves for the new league in 2016-2017 season. We ask for your support as we prepare for the 2015-2016 season. Once again I’m grateful to return to the Grouses organization and to represent the Toyama Prefecture.”

Nash ended his statement, posted on the Grouses website, with a nod to his longtime residence, Hawaii.

Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much),” he said in Hawaiian.

Toyama has advanced to the postseason in each of Nash’s three seasons at the helm, including a team-record 42-10 mark, its first East regular-season crown and a Final Four appearance in 2013-14.

Last season, the Grouses posted a 35-17 record. Toyama was unable to make another run at the Final Four, with star guard Masashi Joho sidelined for the playoffs due to a knee injury.

The Grouses were 35-17 in Nash’s first season in charge, raising the level of expectations for the perennial strugglers. Before Nash took the helm, Toyama had endured six consecutive losing seasons since the franchise’s inception.

Nash, who turns 65 in August, was an NBA (Detroit Pistons, Kansas City Kings) and ABA (San Diego Conquistadors) forward in the 1970s before returning to his alma mater, the University of Hawaii, as an assistant coach in 1984. He served on the school’s coaching staff until 2010, the final three seasons as head coach. (He also coached the Saitama Broncos for the 2010-11 season.)

Before turning pro, Nash played for UH’s famed “Fabulous Five” team from 1970-72.

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