Hawks award Joyce with life membership

BASKETBALL

Championship-winning coach Brendan Joyce was honoured with life membership by the Wollongong Hawks at the club's gala awards dinner on Friday night.

Joyce was the mastermind behind the Hawks' surge to their only title in 2001, beating Adelaide in the semi-final series made famous by Damon Lowery's free throws to send them into the title decider against Townsville.

After also coaching the Hawks to the 2005 grand final series, Joyce is now the Australian Opals women's mentor.

Joyce was presented life membership by National Basketball League general manager Chuck Harmison, who played 234 games for the Hawks and had his No 4 playing shirt retired by the club.

US import Rotnei Clarke took out the Hawks' most valuable player award, just two nights after winning the NBL's top honour in Melbourne.

Clarke out-voted NBA-bound Perth Wildcats star James Ennis and Melbourne's Chris Goulding to win the league award and easily won the Wollongong count.

The club also celebrated Gordie McLeod's coach-of-the-year honour and Kevin Tiggs's award as the sixth man of the season.

Enforcer Dave Gruber earned the Hawks' players player award, with Tyson Demos named best defensive player and Tim Coenraad most improved.

Club person of the year went to outgoing general manager Stuart Wilkinson, with Dale Cheetam recognised for his volunteer efforts.

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