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Panel picks new coach for Nihon Univ. American football team after dirty tackle scandal

In this image taken from video and provided by Kwansei Gakuin University, a Kwansei Gakuin quarterback, center, is tackled from behind by a Nihon University player during an American football game on May 6, 2018 in Tokyo.

TOKYO -- A team of experts formed to choose a new head coach for the American football team at Nihon University in the wake of a scandal over a dirty tackle has settled on 54-year-old Isao Hashizume, a former coach at Ritsumeikan University, sources close to the team disclosed on July 17.

Hashizume is set to replace Masato Uchida, who resigned as head coach following allegations that he ordered the dangerous tackle in May that injured a Kwansei Gakuin University player. The new coach will work to rebuild the team in the wake of the scandal.

The panel, consisting of seven external figures including those with experience coaching American football, publicly solicited candidates to fill the post, excluding alumni of Nihon University, and screened 69 people who came forward.

Included among the candidates was Yaichi Mizuno, 78, the former head coach of the American football team at Kyoto University, who led the team to win the Rice Bowl national championship four times. In the end, however, he was not selected.

As coach of the Ritsumeikan University American football team, Hashizume spent time studying at the University of Oklahoma. Upon his return to Japan, he introduced the shotgun offensive team formation -- which is now closely associated in Japan with Nihon University -- and contributed to two consecutive Rice Bowl victories for Ritsumeikan. He currently coaches at Ritsumeikan Moriyama Senior High School.

(Japanese original by Tadashi Murakami, Sports News Department)

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