If you stumbled across Illawarra Hawks coach Rob Beveridge walking along a street you probably wouldn’t look twice.
He doesn’t carry any airs and graces, there’s no sense of superiority.
`Bevo’, as he is best known, can talk to the supporter on the sideline as easily to the sponsors in the corporate boxes.
Yet a more impressive leader you would not meet.
When you hear him speak, he rarely misses the mark. Honest, direct and usually bang on the money.
Under his leadership the Illawarra Hawks have built a playing group focussed on “team” and “culture”.
Other clubs have tried to buy what he creates and failed.
Money doesn’t buy culture, teamwork and passion.
Everything Rob Beveridge's Hawks put on display resonates loudly with the culture of the Illawarra region.
The will to fight when all chips are down.
Proving people wrong.
A willingness to toil and work hard to triumph over those more favoured.
It is why the fans love their Illawarra Hawks and there is such a strong connection.
Like a viking war cry, the “ILL-A-WARRA” chant at the end of Hawks game has literally shaken the foundations of the WIN Entertainment Centre. It’s a spine-tingling thing to experience.
And make no mistake the NBL grand final series against the Perth Wildcats is a “David and Goliath” battle. The Hawks are David.
But that's exactly how we like it.
The underdogs, written off by all. It's been the theme of the year, yet `Bevo’, his coaching staff and team have proven people wrong time and time again.
Congratulations to the Illawarra Hawks on court and off court team, you have done the Illawarra region proud.
Julian O’Brien, Illawarra Mercury editor