Inspirational as he could be on a basketball court, Glen Saville had a similarly positive effect behind the scenes for the Wollongong Hawks.
Whether it was saying all the right things at a school coaching clinic, pulling a stray teammate into line or putting in extra hours before and after practice, Saville played an integral role in establishing the Hawks’ ethos of no short-cuts and no dickheads.
Former Wollongong captain Mat Campbell, who retired last year, was equally instrumental in that capacity.
Now that Saville has joined Campbell in hanging up his boots, the Hawks will be relying on senior players Oscar Forman, Larry Davidson and Dave Gruber to grab the baton and lead the next generation of hopefuls in the right direction.
‘‘Sav was a great leader because he led by example,’’ Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said.
‘‘There’s no better role model or example for what he’s been able to do for our community and you’d certainly want other players to go down that pathway.
‘‘It wasn’t just his basketball skills that made him a leader, it was also his people skills. He’s a people’s person, he’s got a great sense of humour.
‘‘Basketball has been great for Sav and Sav has been great for basketball. The game is certainly better for his contribution to it.
‘‘It’s been great to see him develop not just as a player but as a person. To see him get married and become a father.
‘‘To watch him as a 16-year-old, young and full of life and with everything in front of him, and see where he is now, it’s very satisfying. I’m very proud of him and what he’s done.
‘‘Our club is very grateful for his contribution and I’m sure the community is very proud of him.’’
Saville was set to retire at the end of the 2012-13 season, but a serious knee injury left him no choice but to draw the curtain on his glittering career a little earlier than he hoped.
‘‘This was always going to be a sad day for Glen, the club and his many fans, but it’s been made that much harder by the fact injury has determined the timing,’’ Hawks chairman Peter Bahlmann said.
‘‘It’s my hope Glen won’t dwell on those circumstances. I hope he will quickly look to enjoy the accolades he receives and well deserves, and will celebrate what has been an absolutely outstanding career.
‘‘Glen brought to our game, not just amazing athletic talent, but dedication and thorough professionalism.
‘‘I thank him for his contribution to our club and this community for so many years. He’s inspired so many of us.
‘‘Though we will lose and miss Glen Saville as a player, we get to keep his legacy of professionalism and that attitude that he’s instilled in this club and his teammates.
‘‘It’s something that will continue to benefit our club for many years.’’