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Illawarra Hawks key part of new NBL management agenda

One of the first tasks of the re-energised National Basketball League in the Illawarra region is to return to its original namesake, the Illawarra Hawks. Executive Director of the NBL Larry Kestelman said the name change was part of an overall new vision for the NBL to engage fans in the region and position the NBL as the number one family sports entertainment in the Illawarra region. “Sport is the lifeblood of regional communities and our new agenda for the NBL includes a commitment of over $6 million to support regional clubs such as the Hawks, to create better fan engagement initiatives and new marketing campaigns which will go a long way to delivering a premium entertainment product to the Illawarra,” he said. “Basketball has thrived in the Illawarra and we know the fans from around the region will come out and support a team they can truly call their own and feel a sense of ownership of and welcome the team with a huge home-town crowd.” Mr Kestelman said the local community had really supported the team during the Take Flight campaign earlier this year and this inspired the name change of the league’s oldest club to return to its original roots. He also recognised the support of the club’s major sponsor Multi Civil and Rail in returning to the club’s original name. The exciting new era for the NBL and the Hawks has lured back Rob Beveridge, who in his anticipated NBL return becomes the Hawk’s 11th head coach, succeeding club legend Gordie McLeod. Mr Kestelman thanked Gordie McLeod for service to the NBL and welcomed Rob Beveridge back to the league. “Rob Beveridge will be a great asset to the league and to the local community in terms of basketball development in the Illawarra. I also thank Gordie McLeod for his contribution to the league,” he said. Beveridge left the NBL in 2013 after amassing an impressive 74-38 overall record and winning the 2010 NBL Championship with the Perth Wildcats. The Hawks are set to benefit from Beveridge’s previous NBL success, with the former West Sydney Razorbacks and Sydney Spirit head coach guiding the Wildcats to three Grand Final appearances and one semi-final during his four-year tenure. Beveridge and assistant coaches Matt Flinn and Eric Cooks will begin working on their 2015/16 roster immediately, and are expected to announce several player signings in the coming weeks.
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