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Jackomas takes over Hawks reigns from mentor Goorjian

After two seasons at the helm for the Illawarra Hawks, head coach Brian Goorjian has elected to not take up his third-year option with the foundation club.

The 68-year-old, who recently brought up his 800th NBL game, will remain as the Hawks' special advisor for basketball operations.

Goorjian's long-time assistant coach Jacob Jackomas will step up into the role of Illawarra's head coach.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my last two seasons with the Hawks, where we've performed extremely well and reached the top four on both occasions," said Goorjian, who confirms he has been approached by overseas clubs which he is exploring.

"I'm extremely proud of everything we achieved on the court and look forward to helping the club in any way I can moving forward.

"This move also allows my long-time assistant coach Jacob, who I have complete faith in, his chance to prove himself in the NBL.

"The plan was always for Jacob to succeed me at the Hawks and the club, thanks to the excellent staff and owners, is in an extremely strong position - which is really exciting for all involved.

"The strides this organisation has made in the Illawarra community over the past two seasons have been incredible and I'm excited to see what Jacob, the returning players, owners and staff can do in the coming years.

"I'd particularly like to thank, in addition to the coaching staff, high performance manager Alex Moore, team doctor Steffan Eriksson, team operations manager Joe Tertzakian, team manager Phil Driscoll and physiotherapist Scott Muttdon, from BaiMed, for their terrific work.

"I love Wollongong and want to see the fans celebrate a second championship banner very soon."

Jackomas, who became the club's 14th ever head coach during March 27's win against Melbourne due to Goorjian testing positive for COVID-19, was excited about the new challenge and to build on what he, Goorjian and Shaun Roger had built over the past two seasons.

"Everyone here has been extremely lucky to work with and learn from Brian over the past two seasons and my coaching staff's mission is to build on that moving forward," said Jackomas, who's coached alongside Goorjian for more than a decade at the Sydney Kings, Shenzhen Leopards and Shanghai Sharks before teaming up at the Hawks.

"I'm extremely excited about the opportunity presented to me because it's always been a dream of mine to coach at the highest level and the NBL is one of the top leagues around the world.

"On top of that, the core we already have here in place fires me up and I'm looking forward to adding more pieces in the coming months, as we start our quest on the NBL 23 banner."

Goorjian will remain with the Boomers, as his Tokyo bronze medal-winning squad look to build on that success at the 2023 FIBA world championships (set to be held in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines) and 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

"Basketball in this country is as strong as I've seen it, which is saying a lot as I started coaching here in the NBL in 1988," the six-time NBL champion said.

"Full credit to Larry Kestelman and the NBL office, for their superb job, particularly over the past two years with managing all the disruptions caused by COVID-19."

Hawks acting president and life member Mat Campbell said the moves were exciting for the club heading into an exciting NBL23 campaign.

"We're extremely thankful for everything Brian has done for us over the past two years - he and his staff, as well as the owners, have completely re-energised our proud club," Campbell said.

"While his involvement at the club might be a little different moving forward, we know he is supportive and always available to help in any way the club requires.

"More to that, the whole club is excited to see what Jacob and our team can do on the hardwood on NBL23."

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