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New Nihon U. American football head coach vows to build 'worthy' team after scandal

New Nihon University American football club head coach Isao Hashizume, left, and new coach Takeshi Izumida speak to reporters at the club's practice field in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, on Aug. 7, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Nihon University (Nichidai) on Aug. 7 introduced a new head coach for its American football club, which is currently suspended from Japan's intercollegiate league after a dirty tackle scandal that led to the ouster of the previous head coach.

"We will build not just the best team in Japan, but also the most worthy team in Japan," commented newly named head coach Isao Hashizume, 55, as he expressed his desire to revive the tarnished reputation of the famed university football team.

Hashizume applied for the head coach position -- vacated by Masato Uchida after it emerged he and another coach, Tsutomu Inoue, had ordered the dirty hit in May this year that left an opposing quarterback injured -- and was selected by a seven-member expert committee. Asked why he had applied for the post, Hashizume said, "I felt that this was a job where I could make an impact on the entire collegiate sports world." He will officially take up his duties on Sept. 1.

Hashizume began his college football coaching career in 1994, when he took a post at his alma mater Ritsumeikan University. Using leadership skills he picked up during a stint at the University of Oklahoma in the United States, he helped guide the Ritsumeikan club to consecutive Rice Bowl national collegiate championships in 2003-2004.

Joining Hashizume on the Nichidai coaching staff will be Takeshi Izumida, a 40-year-old defensive coach previously with IBM Japan Ltd.'s BigBlue American football team of Japan's X-League.

"Nichidai is a team with special meaning," said Izumida, a graduate of Kindai University. "I thought I wanted to contribute my efforts."

Uchida and Inoue were both dismissed by Nichidai for ordering the dirty tackle in a May 6 game against Kwansei Gakuin University.

(Japanese original by Yu Kishimoto, Sports News Department)

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