Illawarra Hawks

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Illawarra Hawks
Illawarra Hawks logo.svg
Leagues NBL
HistoryIllawarra Hawks
1979–1998, 2015–present
Wollongong Hawks
Arena WIN Entertainment Centre
Location Wollongong, New South Wales
Team colorsRed, black, white
General manager Mat Campbell
Head coachMatt Flinn
Team captainKevin White
OwnershipSimon Stratford
Championships1 (2001)
Retired numbers5 (4, 5, 12, 32, 33)

The Illawarra Hawks are an Australian professional basketball team based in Wollongong, New South Wales. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball League (NBL) and play their home games at WIN Entertainment Centre, known colloquially as "The Sandpit". [1] The Hawks are the only remaining NBL team to have competed in every season since the league's inception in 1979. The team won their first and so far only NBL Championship in 2001 and finished as runners-up in 2005, 2010 and 2017.

Basketball team sport played on a court with baskets on either end

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Wollongong City in New South Wales, Australia

Wollongong, informally referred to as "The Gong", is a seaside city located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. Wollongong lies on the narrow coastal strip between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, 68 kilometres (51 miles) south of central Sydney. Wollongong had an estimated urban population of 299,203 at June 2017, making it the third-largest city in New South Wales after Sydney and Newcastle, and the tenth-largest city in Australia. The city's current Lord Mayor is Gordon Bradbery AM who was elected in 2018.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.



The Illawarra Hawks began as a team in the New South Wales Men's Division 1 championship [2] before joining the National Basketball League (NBL) for its inaugural season in 1979. The Hawks played out of Beaton Park Stadium, commonly known as "The Snakepit". In 1981, import Mike Jones was named NBL Most Valuable Player. In 1987, the Hawks had their best season to date, finishing in third place with a 20–6 record. In 1998, the team was renamed the Wollongong Hawks and moved into WIN Entertainment Centre.

National Basketball League (Australia) main basketball league of Australia and New Zealand

The National Basketball League (NBL) is a men's professional basketball league in Oceania; currently composed of 9 teams, 8 in Australia and 1 in New Zealand. It is the premier professional men's basketball league in Australia and New Zealand.

The 1979 NBL season was the inaugural season of the National Basketball League (NBL). The regular season began on 24 February and ended on 3 June. The participants in the league's very first Grand Final, which took place on 10 June, were decided via by the tie-breaking system. The championship was decided by a sudden death Grand Final between first and second – there were no semi-finals. St Kilda finished the regular season on top with 15 wins but Nunawading and Canberra were tied in second with 13 wins apiece, with Canberra advancing via the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Beaton Park Stadium is an Australian basketball centre in Gwynneville, New South Wales. It was the home of National Basketball League side Illawarra Hawks between 1979 until 1998.

The 2000/01 season marked history for the Hawks as they won their maiden NBL Championship. Prior to the start of the season, coach Brendan Joyce changed almost half his roster, adding Charles Thomas, Damon Lowery, Grant Kruger, Matt Shanahan and Axel Dench. After finishing the regular season in fourth with a club-best 21 wins from 28 games, Wollongong upset Perth in the first round of the post-season before conquering Adelaide when Lowery sunk three free throws with no time on the clock in game three of the semi-final series. [3] The Hawks went on to beat Townsville 2–1 in the grand final to capture the team's only title. [4]

Brendan Joyce Australian basketball player

Brendan Joyce is the former head coach of the Australian women's national basketball team (Opals). Joyce is a former professional basketball player and head coach of the National Basketball League (Australasia) the Wollongong Hawks and the Gold Coast Blaze.

The Hawks returned to the NBL Grand Final in 2004/05, where they lost to the Sydney Kings. In 2009/10, they made their third appearance in the grand final series, this time coming up short to the Perth Wildcats. In 2010/11, import Gary Ervin was named MVP of the league, becoming the first Hawk to win the award since Mike Jones in 1981. In 2013/14, import Rotnei Clarke was named MVP of the league, becoming the third Hawk to win the award.

Sydney Kings basketball team

The Sydney Kings are an Australian men’s professional basketball team competing in the National Basketball League (NBL). The team is based in Sydney, New South Wales. The Kings were formed from a merger between the West Sydney Westars and the Sydney Supersonics in October 1987. They were the first team to win three consecutive championships in the NBL and currently sit fifth behind the Adelaide 36ers and New Zealand Breakers, Melbourne United (five) and Perth Wildcats (eight) for championships won. The Kings play their home games at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, New South Wales.

Perth Wildcats basketball team

The Perth Wildcats are an Australian professional basketball team based in Perth, Western Australia. The Wildcats compete in the National Basketball League (NBL) and play their home games at RAC Arena, known colloquially as "The Jungle". Their sister team, the Perth Lynx, play in the Women's National Basketball League.

Gary Ervin basketball player

Gary Ervin is an American professional basketball player who last played for Chorale Roanne Basket of the French LNB Pro B. He played college basketball for Mississippi State University and the University of Arkansas. Ervin was the NBL's Most Valuable Player for the 2010–11 NBL season while playing for the Wollongong Hawks.

In February 2009, captain Mat Campbell started the "Save the Hawks" campaign after the ownership group declared the team would not be able to join revamped league in 2009/10 on financial grounds. Campbell and his small team reached their goal, thanks to the commitment of the Illawarra community, naming rights sponsor ahm Health Insurance, and a bank guarantee provided by Indian mining magnate Mr. Arun Jagatramka from Gujarat NRE. A not-for-profit community-based company formed as Wollongong Hawks Basketball Limited is established to operate the Hawks into the future.

Mathew Campbell is an Australian former professional basketball player who played his entire career for the Wollongong Hawks of the National Basketball League (NBL).

In July 2014, a new era was ushered in by the Hawks after Telecommunications entrepreneur James Spenceley was successful in his bid to become the organisation's new owner. [5] However, following a dismal 2014/15 season, the organisation was dealt a substantial off-court blow with Wollongong Coal withdrawing their major sponsorship 1½ years into a five-year contract. The Hawks subsequently decided to place themselves into Voluntary Administration on 2 March 2015. [6] [7] On 25 March 2015, the Hawks secured Multi Civil and Rail as their major sponsor, as the company committed to a one-year deal. [8]

On 22 June 2015, the organisation announced that the team would revert to its original name, the Illawarra Hawks, to better reflect not only the city of Wollongong, but also the surrounding area including the city of Shellharbour, the town of Kiama and the Wingecarribee Shire. [9] [10]

Following long-time coach Gordie McLeod's departure, Rob Beveridge was signed as head coach for the 2015/16 season. He nabbed the trio of New Zealand sharp shooter Kirk Penney, big man AJ Ogilvy, and US point guard Kevin Lisch. The trio were dubbed "the three-headed monster", [11] but they were unsuccessful in leading the Hawks to a championship, falling short in the semi-finals. Lisch was named MVP of the league, becoming the fourth Hawk to win the award.

With Lisch and Penney departing after one season, the Hawks reacquired the serves of Rotnei Clarke for the 2016/17 season. He helped them reach the NBL Grand Final for the first time since 2010, where they were defeated 3–0 by the Perth Wildcats.

On June 17, 2019, high school phenom LaMelo Ball announced on ESPN's The Jump that he will sign with the Illawarra Hawks. [12] [13] Ball became the second high school phenom to enter the NBL's Next Stars program for the 2019–20 NBL season, with R. J. Hampton of the New Zealand Breakers being the first.

Name, logo and uniforms

The team's colours are red and white. The logo consists of a red hawk with smaller text "Illawarra" centered above the larger text of "Hawks". The Hawk is holding a basketball in its talons. Predominately red uniforms are used for home games, and predominately white uniforms for away games.

Home arenas

The Illawarra Hawks play their home games at WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong. WIN Entertainment Centre opened in September 1998 with a concert by Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. It holds a capacity of 6,000 seats when in full basketball format. The Illawarra Hawks are the only full-time tenants at the arena. The Hawks have been playing at the arena since the 1998–99 NBL season.

Prior to this season, the Hawks played out of the 2,000 seat Beaton Park Stadium (also known as the Illawarra Basketball Stadium) for twenty seasons starting from the club's inception in 1979. One story that evolved around the NBL during the 1980s was that the Illawarra Steelers rugby league team would sit behind the opposition bench during Hawks home games at Beaton Park in a bid to intimidate the opposing team. The Hawks continue to use the stadium as a training facility and also play some pre-season games there.

The Hawks record home attendance of 5,839 was set on 18 February 2005 against the Sydney Kings at the WIN Entertainment Centre during Round 21 of the 2004–05 NBL season.


Retired jerseys

Illawarra Hawks retired numbers
4Chuck Harmison F/C 1988–1996
5 Gordie McLeod G 1979–1982, 1984–1988
12 Glen Saville G/F 1995–2007, 2008–2013
32 Mat Campbell G/F 1996–2012
33Melvin Thomas F 1992–1995, 1999–2003

Source: Retired Numbers

Current roster

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Illawarra Hawks roster
G 1 Flag of the United States.svg Ball, LaMelo  (NS)1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)82 kg (181 lb)
C 3 Flag of the United States.svg Boone, Josh  (I)2.08 m (6 ft 10 in)108 kg (238 lb)
C 6 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Ogilvy, Andrew 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in)115 kg (254 lb)
G 10 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Glover, Angus 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)87 kg (192 lb)
G/F 11 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Grida, Daniel 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)88 kg (194 lb)
G/F 21 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Blanchfield, Todd 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in)94 kg (207 lb)
F 22 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Coenraad, Tim 1.99 m (6 ft 6 in)97 kg (214 lb)
G 30 Flag of the United States.svg Brooks, Aaron  (I)1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)73 kg (161 lb)
G 41 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Naar, Emmett 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)88 kg (194 lb)
G 44 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Dech, Sunday 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)93 kg (205 lb)
F/C Flag of Australia (converted).svg Froling, Samson 2.12 m (6 ft 11 in)104 kg (229 lb)
Head coach
  • Flag of Australia (converted).svg Matt Flinn
Assistant coach(es)
  • Flag of the United States.svg Eric Cooks

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Development player
  • (I) Import player
  • (NS) Next Star player
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured

Updated: 20 June 2019


There have been ten different head coaches for the Hawks during their history. Charlie Ammit was the first coach of the Hawks to take the team to a finals series when his side finished fourth in the regular season with a 13-11 record. Brendan Joyce was the first coach to both win the Championship (in 2000–01) and claim runners-up (in 2004–05). He was also the first coach to claim runners-up in the regular season (in 2003–04). Both Joyce (2004–05) and Gordie McLeod (2009–10) have the unfortunate honour of claiming the runners-up prize in both the regular season and finals series in the same year. Eric Cooks became the first captain of the club (1999–00) to also become a coach (2006–2009). McLeod is the only other captain (1980–1982 and 1984–1988) to have accomplished this when took over from Cooks in 2009.

Season by season

Illawarra Hawks season summary
SeasonResultsFinalsCoachCaptainClub MVP [14]
8th (5-13)
Joe Farrugia
Bob Kubbinga
Not awarded
1980 6th (13–9) Dr. Adrian Hurley
Gordie McLeod
1981 8th (9–13)Joe Farrugia
1982 9th (11–15)Tom Pottenger
1983 7th (4–18)
Charlie Ammit
Mike Jones
1984 4th (13–11)Elimination Finalist
Gordie McLeod
1985 5th (10–16)Ted Weston
1986 5th (15–11)Semi FinalistDave Lindstrom
1987 3rd (20–6)Semi Finalist
1988 7th (11–13)
1989 11th (7–11)Chuck Harmison Norman Taylor
1990 8th (13–13)Norman Taylor
1991 13th (6–20)Norman Taylor
1992 5th (13–11)Quarter Finalists Doug Overton
1993 6th (15–11)Quarter FinalistsAlan Black Melvin Thomas
1994 8th (13–13)Quarter FinalistsMelvin Thomas
1995 7th (14–12)Quarter FinalistsMelvin Thomas
1996 10th (9–17)
Brendan Joyce
Terry Johnson
1997 11th (7–23)Matt Zauner Clayton Ritter
1998 6th (14–16)Elimination Finalists Clayton Ritter Clayton Ritter
1998–99 3rd (16–10)Semi Finalists C. J. Bruton
1999–00 8th (11–17)Eric Cooks Glen Saville & Melvin Thomas
2000–01 4th (21–7)Champions
Mat Campbell &
Glen Saville
Glen Saville
2001–02 4th (16–14)First RoundGlen Saville
2002–03 4th (18–12)Semi FinalistsGlen Saville
2003–04 2nd (28–8)Semi Finalists
Mat Campbell
Glen Saville
2004–05 2nd (20–12)Grand FinalistsGlen Saville
2005–06 3rd (19–13)Quarter FinalistsRotating Captaincy Cortez Groves
2006–07 10th (11–12)
Brendan Joyce, Eric Cooks
Glen Saville
Adam Ballinger
2007–08 11th (9–21)
Eric Cooks
Mat Campbell
Kavossy Franklin
2008–09 7th (9–19)Glen Saville
2009–10 2nd (16-12)Grand Finalists
Gordie McLeod
Larry Davidson
2010–11 5th (15–13) Gary Ervin
2011–12 8th (9–19) Oscar Forman
2012–13 3rd (13–15)Semi Finalists
Oscar Forman
Adris Deleon
2013–14 4th (13–15)Semi Finalists Rotnei Clarke
2014–15 8th (6–22) Tim Coenraad [15]
2015–16 3rd (17–11)Semi FinalistsRob Beveridge Kevin Lisch
2016–17 4th (15–13)Grand Finalists Rotnei Clarke
2017–18 5th (12–16)Kevin White Demitrius Conger
2018–19 7th (12–16)TBD

Source: [1]

Trophies and awards


Championships (1): 2001
Grand Final Appearances (4): 2001, 2005, 2010, 2017
Finals Appearances (20): 1984, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1998–99, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17


Records and statistics

All-time records
Most games527 Glen Saville [16]
Most points6865Glen Saville
Most rebounds4041Glen Saville
Most assists1847Glen Saville
Most steals776Glen Saville
Most blocks423Glen Saville
Most field goals2511Glen Saville
Most 3-pointers1049 Mat Campbell
Most free throws1163Glen Saville
Game records
Most points in a game54 Norman Taylor, 18 May 1990
Most 3-pointers made in a game10 Charles Thomas, 29 December 2001
Most assists in a game18 Gordie McLeod, twice
Most blocks in a game73 players
Most steals in a game9Elliot Hatcher, 13 March 1998
Most rebounds in a game23 Ray Borner, 9 May 1987

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  1. 1 2 "Season by Season". Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  2. "FLASHBACK 4: August, 1977, ABM". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  3. Barrow, Tim (24 February 2016). "Lowery believes in Hawks' title destiny". Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  4. "2000/01 - Wollongong Hawks : NBL Champions". Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  5. Hawks under new Ownership
  6. Hawks Announcement
  7. Wollongong Hawks Announcement
  8. Wollongong Hawks land new sponsor
  9. Hawks revert to original Illawarra moniker
  10. We're the Illawarra Hawks and we're flying to the top #FlyYouHawks
  11. Illawarra Hawks on how they got their wings back
  13. "Illawarra Hawks Sign Lamelo Ball". Illawarra Hawks. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  14. "Hawks MVP/Honour Roll". Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  15. Tim Keeble (26 February 2015). "Coenraad rewarded with MVP for Hawks". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  16. Glen Saville announces his retirement from the National Basketball League