ASHLAND, Ore. — In 1986, Southern Oregon State was hosting Kwansei Gakuin University from Japan for an exhibition game. During the Japanese team’s stay, Akira Furakawa made his way over to Ashland High School to check out their practice. It was there that he me Grizzlies’ head coach Jim Nagel. The two got to talking and two years later, the Grizzlies were headed to Japan for the first ever Pacific Rim Bowl.
This year, Ashland is going to Japan for the 25th anniversary of the first game and the Grizzlies are bringing Nagel back for this special event. Ashland’s quarterback coach was unable to make the trip with the team this year, leaving an opening for Nagel to join.