Nakatani departs as Bishop Ryan girls basketball coach

Alex Eisen/MDN Bishop Ryan girls basketball coach April Nakatani (right) watches Eden Kramer (1) save the ball from going out of bounds last season at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. After six years with the Lions and being the head coach last season, Nakatini stepped down from the program on Thursday.

Bishop Ryan loses another girls basketball coach with the decision from April Nakatani to step down Thursday. This comes only a year after being promoted to head coach when Julie Stewart left the program.

“I think April did a great job these last few years,” Ryan’s athletic director Roger Coleman said. “The last six years she was here, the girls played hard for her.”

Nakatani was assistant coach under Stewart for five years before taking over the team as head coach for the 2017-2018 season.

In her one season as head coach, Nakatani led the Lions to a 13-9 season. After winning the District 12 championship, the Lions lost in the Region 6 quarterfinals to Bottineau, ending their season on Feb. 19.

“It’s sad to see her go,” Coleman said. “She was in constant contact with me and let me know she just had to kind of get on a different path and she found a good career for herself, I think.”

Coleman said demands from Nakatani’s new job limited her availability and ultimately led to her decision to leave the team.

Nakatani declined to comment about her decision Thursday, but said “it’s very hard for me to say goodbye.”

With the loss of Nakatani, Bishop Ryan now has two coaching positions to fill going into the school year. Coleman said they are looking to post both of the positions next week.

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