ILLAWARRA will head into what’s shaping as the most chaotic NBL free agency period in recent memory without a general manager after Kim Welch followed former owner James Spenceley out the door this week.
Welch informed players and staff of his resignation on Thursday, prior to Friday’s club awards dinner, in order to take up an operations role with the Western Force in Perth.
It will leave new majority owner Simon Stratford looking for a replacement ahead of an off-season free agency window that will see 10 of the Hawks 11-man roster come off contract.
Stratford – who took majority ownership of the club from Spenceley a fortnight ago – is still looking for further investors before settling on a new ownership structure.
It could delay the search for a new GM but a club-issued statement confirming Welch’s departure on Friday morning said it will be “business as usual” at the Snakepit.
“The Illawarra Hawks wish to advise that the club’s general manager, Mr Kim Welch, announced his resignation to the players and staff yesterday,” the statement read.
“Mr Welch will be heading back to Perth to take on a operations role with the Western Force and will officially finish up with the club after the end of season awards dinner tonight.
“We would like to take the time to thank Kim for all he has done for the club during his tenure at the club.
“During his time with the club he helped guide us through the administration process in 2015, before we returned to the semi finals the following season and then achieving our fourth ever grand final appearance in the 2016/17 season.
“It is business as usual from an operational sense as we continue to finalise our ownership structure, before embarking on our 41st season in the National Basketball League.
“We are committed to ensuring the Hawks remain prominent in our local community and successful both on and off the court.
“Simon Stratford will continue to work on building an appropriate ownership model before the search for a suitable replacement to fill the general manager position begins.”