Nihon University will hire veteran college football coach Isao Hashizume after the previous coach was forced to resign over a dangerous late tackle by one of his players, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
According to the sources, Hashizume, who was named coach of Ritsumeikan University in 1994, was one of 69 applicants for the position vacated after Masato Uchida stepped down to take responsibility for a May 6 game that left an opposing player with injuries to his knee and back.
In the exhibition game, Uchida is said to have ordered one of his players to “crush” the Kwansei Gakuin University quarterback, though he denied the allegation, saying the linebacker misinterpreted the coaches’ instructions.
The 20-year-old linebacker, who made a public apology that was broadcast live across Japan, was suspended, and a number of schools have canceled their games against Nihon University.
The 54-year-old Hashizume, who spent a year at the University of Oklahoma on a coaching training program starting in 2000, helped lead Ritsumeikan, a powerhouse among college teams, to the collegiate national championships in 2003 and 2004.
In the hiring process, a seven-member selection panel screened each candidate based on criteria such as the ability to rebuild an organization while respecting players’ individuality, and boosting team morale.
Hashizume currently serves as the coach of a Ritsumeikan high school.