Basketball / B. League

Evessa bring back former coach Kensaku Tennichi

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

In an attempt to resurrect the franchise and usher in a new glory era, the Osaka Evessa have hired former bench boss Kensaku Tennichi.

The Evessa confirmed what’s been expected for weeks on Thursday, announcing the move on their website.

Tennichi guided the Evessa to a championship three-peat during the first three seasons of the now-defunct bj-league (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08). He coached the Kansai club for five seasons, taking the Evessa to five Final Fours and four championship game appearances (they lost the 2010 final).

With Tennichi at the helm, the Evessa were the bj-league’s first dynasty. They compiled a 160-68 regular-season record under Tennichi.

Kensuke Hosaka, 34, guided the Evessa to a 23-37 record last season. He has taken a position as an assistant coach for the Kawasaki Brave Thunders.

“I am honored to be able to work as a head coach for the Osaka Evessa,” the 52-year-old Tennichi said in a statement. “Not only on the site, but with the club, partners, and boosters, we will do our best to create a great season.”

A protégé of former NBA coach Paul Westhead, Tennichi reflected on his mentor’s influence in a 2007 interview with The Japan Times.

“He changed my mind really. His style of basketball, I think, is great. His effort to that team was so great, so pure, really so great,” Tennichi said. “So he influenced me a lot. And I tried to use part of his system, the fastbreak system. He changed me.”

Tennichi served as an assistant under Westhead on the JBL’s Panasonic Super Kangaroos, starting in 2000. In 2002, he became head coach, a position that lasted for two years.

After his remarkable run with the Evessa, Tennichi took over as Ashiya University men’s basketball coach in 2010 and oversaw the program until 2016.

He coached the Nishinomiya Storks for two seasons (2016-18), piloting the Storks to the B2 title and promotion to the top division in 2017.

After leaving Nishinomiya, Tennichi worked as the sideline supervisor for B3’s Aisin AW Areions Anjo last season.

In late April, The Japan Times reported that Tennichi was in line to return to Osaka as coach.

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