As NBL final looms, Brian Goorjian steps down as head coach of Illawarra Hawks

Brian Goorjian will step down as head coach of the Illawarra Hawks after guiding the NBL franchise to consecutive finals appearances.

The 68-year-old signed with the Hawks on a two-year deal in 2020, but has decided not to take up the option of a third year.

He will remain with the organisation as a special advisor for basketball operations.

“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,” Goorjian said.

The Hawks were knocked out of finals contention by the Sydney Kings, who won the semi-finals series 2-0.

The Boomers coach was a key part of rebuilding the foundation club after the previous ownership collapsed in the wake of the franchise’s worst-ever season.

In Goorjian’s first season in charge the Hawks finished in third spot and this season he guided the team to second for the first time since 2010.

Jacob Jackomas will take over as head coach of the Illawarra Hawks for the 2023 season.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

Jacob Jackomas, who has worked as Goorjian’s assistant coach for the last 10 years, will take over ahead of the 2023 season.

“The plan was always for Jacob to succeed me at the Hawks,” Goorjian said.

“The club, thanks to the excellent staff and owners, is in an extremely strong position, which is really exciting for all involved.”

Jackomas briefly stepped into the top job in round 27 when the Hawks upset ladder leaders Melbourne United.

“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,” he said.

Goorjian, who spent a decade coaching in China, has confirmed he has been approached by overseas clubs and is considering their offers.

Former Hawks captain and acting President Mat Campbell said the super coach would remain in Wollongong for now.

“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.

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