As the Hawks celebrate their 1000th NBL game tomorrow, the Mercury is recalling the highs and lows of the club’s 34-year journey since its establishment as a foundation member of the league in 1979.
The Hawks' community roots stem right back to the early days on their home court.
For the first 20 years of their tenure in the NBL, the Hawks played in the humble surrounds of "The Snakepit" at Beaton Park. With a modest capacity of just over 1500 spectators, Illawarra fans could see club legends such as Gordie McLeod, Chuck Harmison and Mike Jones up close and personal throughout the 1980s and '90s.
Packed houses had made The Snakepit one of the most enviable home courts in the league with the Hawks' parochial home supporters packed in at close quarters.
But consistent sell-outs would eventually force the club to look elsewhere for their growing supporter base in 1995.
The Hawks management decided to make the move to WIN Entertainment Centre in the 1998-99 season.
They also decided to change the team name from the Illawarra Hawks to Wollongong Hawks.
The big move turned out to be a successful one for the club, as they managed 16 wins for the campaign to finish third.
It was a sign of things to come on their new home court.
A first NBL title following the success shortly after in 2000-01, under the tutelage of coach Brendan Joyce.