The Illawarra Hawks have been dealt a big blow just days after the end of their 2022 season, with legendary head coach Brian Goorjian announcing he would not be taking up his third-year option with the team.
Replacing him will be his long-time assistant Jacob Jackomas, who has an extensive coaching resume including stints in the NBL and in China over the last 16 years.
Jackomas joined the Hawks alongside Goorjian in 2020, having worked with the coach for 11 years, with many tipping him as the heir apparent to Goorjian.
He also became the team’s 14th ever head coach earlier this season, stepping into the top job for a win against Melbourne United after Goorjian was placed in COVID protocol.
Brian Goorjian is missing his first ever NBL game as coach after 795 games.
— The NBL (@NBL) March 27, 2022
In a statement, Goorjian said that he was proud of his time with the Hawks and that he is excited to see what Jackomas can do in the top position.
“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.
“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.
“I’m excited to see what Jacob, the returning players, owners, and staff can do in the coming years.”
Jackomas was thankful for the support of his mentor and said that he is determined to continue the winning culture that both men worked to establish in Wollongong.
“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,” Jackomas said.
“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 Hawks, for the time being, moving into the role of ‘special advisor for basketball operations.’
However, the 68-year-old also said that he had been approached by a number of overseas teams and that he is exploring his options.
Under Goorjian, the Hawks broke a three-year playoff drought, losing to Perth in the semi-finals last year before going down to Sydney in a similar fashion this season.
He will also stay on as the Boomer’s head coach, looking to improve upon the Bronze medal won at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.