McLeod extends tenure with Hawks

Coach Gordie McLeod after signing a new three-year contract with the Hawks on Thursday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Coach Gordie McLeod after signing a new three-year contract with the Hawks on Thursday. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

His chest bursting with pride, Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod offered a compelling insight into what makes him tick on Thursday at the Snakepit.

A Wollongong boy to the core, McLeod almost gets teary as he talks about his lifelong connection to the Hawks.

The club's board members know they not only have the best in the business guiding the team, but also a man who bleeds red and white.

That's why they signed the NBL's reigning coach of the year to a new three-year contract that has everybody smiling at Hawks headquarters.

"I'm extremely proud of this club. I'm proud of what we've been able to achieve," McLeod said.

"Being around the club for a long time, you're on a journey with the club. There's been a lot of obstacles, but the one thing that's always been there with this club during that journey is the passion and the commitment of the people."

McLeod was the starting point guard on the original Hawks team in 1979. He played nine seasons with the club and was its first Olympic representative at the 1980 Moscow Games.

After earlier coaching stints with the AIS, West Sydney, Singapore and also in the New Zealand league, McLeod "came home" to coach the Hawks in 2009.

His teams have over-achieved almost every season, advancing to the semi-finals in three of his five years in the driver's seat.

McLeod never forgets where it all started for him.

"I can remember coming here as a 10-year-old and starting my basketball journey. That's why there's that extra bit of passion and emotion because you're part of that journey," he said.

"I remember coming to watch my heroes play and thinking I'd love to represent this region. I was into cricket and soccer as well, but basketball was a game that just grabbed me because of the excitement of the game and the passion of the fans."

McLeod loves his job and remains highly motivated.

"It's about trying to be the best you can be," the 57-year-old said.

"Not everything you do is right, but I try and be the best coach I can be. The exciting thing is there's still heaps to learn and I have that desire to get better and get results. That's what drives me."

McLeod believes the club is heading in the right direction under new owner James Spenceley.

"We're moving down the private ownership path again because we need to evolve as a club," he said.

"We've done a great job to hang on, and now we want to try and accelerate where we want to go, and James has that passion and that excitement about the club. He knows our history and our journey, and he wants to take the club to another level. It's not a takeover. It's a way we have to move forward as a club."

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