Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 1:11 pm  |  10 responses

Bob Hill Becomes First Former NBA Coach In Japan

by Ed Odeven

While the NBA Draft grabbed the spotlight in the Big Apple on Thursday, the Tokyo Apache made a major move of their own.

In fact, it could become a game-changer for the bj-league, giving the young league a major boost in recognition and respectability.

Veteran bench boss Bob Hill, who led the San Antonio Spurs to the NBA’s best regular-season record in 1994-95, was named the team’s new coach, confirming a story first reported by The Japan Times last week.

He is the first ex-NBA coach to take the same position with a bj-league club.

Hill, 61, received a one-year contract. The Apache did not disclose his salary.

“We are thrilled to bring in Coach Hill to join this team,” said Conor Neu, who took over as the team’s general manager earlier this month. “The signing of Coach Hill demonstrates this organization’s commitment to our fans and players.

“Coach Hill and I expect the Apache to compete for the league championship this season. Coach Hill also shares our off-court vision, and he is excited to be an active member of the Apache community.”

The rival Japan Basketball League brought in a big-name coach several years ago, when Paul Westhead, who guided the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA champion in 1979-80, Magic Johnson’s rookie season, was the pilot of the JBL’s Panasonic Super Kangaroos in 2001-03.

Hill has served as the head coach of the New York Knicks (1986-87), Indiana Pacers (1990-93), San Antonio Spurs (1994-96) and Seattle SuperSonics (2006-07). His NBA record as a coach is 310-293. Hill’s college career also includes stops at Fordham University (head coach, 1999-2003) and a lengthy stint as an assistant for the Kansas Jayhawks (1979-85). He played college ball at Bowling Green.

In recent years, Hill has also coached the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanxi club and worked as a member of the United States Basketball Academy’s Advisory Board. Coaching legends John Wooden and Pete Newell and former standout players Rick Barry and Arvydas Sabonis have served on the board.

(Originally published in the Japan Times Online)

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  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    The Tokyo Apache? Ok…. Bob Hill gonna be saying “nihongo wakarimasen” a whole lot. Least I did was I was stationed in Oki.

  • Bluefrog

    bj-league is really growing and picking up some talented players and coaches. They’ve made the game exciting for the fans. Something the Japan Basketball League has failed to do for years. The two leagues have merge sometime in the near future.

  • ktokyo

    I watched some BJ League while I was in Japan. Other than the unfortunate name for the league, it was ok. I actually found it very similar to lower level college ball or high level women’s ball (meant as a compliment) because they have very organized set offences based on getting open jump shots. Kobe’s Dad is a coach and former UCLA national champion Charles O’Bannon played in the league when I was there.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I miss Japan. Especially Coco Ichibanya’s. I think they put crack in their food, straight up.

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  • somedude

    …….BJ League.

  • ktokyo

    Yeah man. I ate that like 2 or 3 times a week!

  • ab_40

    bj leauge is far too easy to make fun off

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  • Teri Gray

    Looking for Bob Hill. Just checking to see if he and his family are OK after the disaster in Japan this week. I’m a cousin and would love to make sure all is well. Thanks.