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B.League Coaching Carousel: New Bench Bosses in Hiroshima, Gunma, Yokohama and Nagasaki

The 2023-24 B.League champion Hiroshima Dragonflies will begin defense of their title with new head coach Shogo Asayama, who recently retired as a player.



Guided by head coach Kyle Milling, the Hiroshima Dragonflies won the B.League Finals on May 28, 2024, at Yokohama Arena. Milling is now the Gunma Crane Thunders' new coach. (B.LEAGUE)

Read the full story on SportsLook - B.League Coaching Carousel: New Bench Bosses in Hiroshima, Gunma, Yokohama and Nagasaki

Less than a month after leading the Hiroshima Dragonflies to their first B.League title on May 28, Kyle Milling has left the team. The Dragonflies made an announcement on Monday, June 17.

Milling was named the new head coach of the Gunma Crane Thunders on Tuesday, replacing the departed Kota Mizuno. 

On the same day, Hiroshima named retired swingman Shogo "Mr Dragonflies" Asayama as Milling's successor.

Asayama, 43, suited up for the Dragonflies from 2015-24.

Dragonflies general manager Shuji Okazaki detailed why he believes Asayama is a suitable replacement for Milling, who led the club to three winning seasons during his three-year tenure.

"Not only does he have a strong relationship of trust with the players who have already announced that they will continue with the club," Okazaki said of Asayama in a statement, "but he also has a deep understanding of the club's history and the culture it values."

Okazaki added, "Specifically, Asayama is a head coach who can clarify what is good and what is bad, and can sometimes communicate harsh opinions to players and staff to achieve results. While there are growing pains involved in changing and developing the team, he is also willing to spare no effort in building a trusting relationship with each and every one of them."


Asayama Outlines His Goals for the Dragonflies

Taking over a team that went 36-24 in the 2023-24 B.League regular season and then defeated the San-en NeoPhoenix, Nagoya Diamond Dolphins and Ryukyu Golden Kings in the playoffs to capture the title, Asayama wants to maintain the team's high standards.

"I am pleased to announce that I will be taking over as head coach," Asayama said. "First of all, I would like to express my utmost respect and gratitude to head coach Kyle Milling and the players and staff who are leaving this team.

"I am also very happy to be able to compete with you all again, carrying the Hiroshima Dragonflies name on my shoulders. [And] I would like to carry on what we have built up so far, strengthen it further, and create something new from it."

Kyle Milling coached the Hiroshima Dragonflies for the past three seasons. (B.LEAGUE)

A New B.League Coaching Challenge for Milling

In leaving Hiroshima to accept a new coaching position with Gunma, Milling takes over a team that had a 31-29 record in 2023-24.

The American-born mentor said he's eager for the new challenge that lies ahead.

"I’m very excited and honored to be joining the Gunma Crane Thunders for the 2024-25 season," Milling stated in a team-issued news release.

The 49-year-old coach added, "I want to thank the management and club for having confidence in me to help continue building the club both on and off the court.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven