Illawarra Hawks are one of 10 founding teams in newly formed National Basketball League.
Playing out of the Snakepit at Beaton Park, they finish eighth with five wins from 18 games.
Hawks boast two of league’s most exciting imports in Mike Jones and Bennie Lewis.
Jones captures NBL MVP honours, but Hawks finish eighth with 9-13 record.
Snakepit is extended from two to four courts and Hawks move ‘‘next door’’ to new home.
Under coach Charlie Ammit and playmaking genius Gordie McLeod, Hawks finish fourth (13-11) and reach play-offs for first time.
Two pivotal years as Hawks make semi-finals in both seasons.
In ‘86 David Lindstrom takes charge as coach in a tenure which lasts seven seasons.
McLeod’s miraculous buzzer-beater against Brisbane in game two of ‘87 semi-finals goes down in Hawks folklore.
Hawks win pre-season K-Mart Classic and go on to win 13 of 26 regular season games, narrowly missing top six.
Stormin’ Norman Taylor sets club record with 54 points, breaking his own record of 49 from previous year - Record still stands today.
The Hawks make play-offs in all three seasons after finishing second-last in 1991.
Future NBA guard Doug Overton and forward Melvin Thomas form arguably club’s greatest all-time import combination in ‘92.
Lindstrom era ends after ‘92 season.
After guiding Hawks into post-season for three consecutive years, Alan Black quits as coach to join Sydney Kings, taking Thomas with him.
Continued sell-out crowds prompt Hawks management to investigate prospects of moving to bigger stadium.
Black’s departure signals beginning of Brendan Joyce era. With imports Marcus Timmons and Andre LaFleur, Hawks compile 9-17 record and finish ninth.
Hawks bottom out with league-worst seven wins from 30 games and Joyce barely hangs on to job.
As Hawks struggle to compete with bigger name franchises, Illawarra businessman John Carson, a longtime Hawks supporter, purchases the club.
After 21 seasons the Illawarra Hawks move out of Snakepit to new home at the WIN Entertainment Centre and undergo a minor name change to become the Wollongong Hawks, as NBL shifts from winter to summer season.
With Carson’s backing, Hawks become team to be reckoned with again, finishing third with 16 wins.
After missing play-offs in 2000, Joyce’s team wins the championship, beating the Crocodiles in the deciding game three in Townsville.
Victory comes same season Wollongong Wolves win National Soccer League, as Wollongong become nation’s Title-Town for 2001.
Hawks finish second with franchise-best 25-8 record, a foot injury to big American centre John Mueller ruins Wollongong’s chances as Hawks collapse to a 2-0 semi-final sweep at hands of West Sydney Razorbacks - coached by Gordie McLeod.
Hawks guard Darnell Mee leads NBL in steals (2.1 per game).
Hawks are second to Sydney again with 20 wins and sweep Townsville in semi-finals to earn grand final showdown with arch rivals Sydney.
Kings steamroll Wollongong 3-0 to claim their third straight title.
Wollongong are third on ladder before being upset at home by Perth in the first round one-game elimination playoff game.
American Cortez Groves leads league in scoring (24.1 points) and named on All-NBL First Team.
Hawks fail to make play-offs and Joyce’s reign comes to dramatic end when he is sacked days after Christmas following an on-going dispute with the then Hawks CEO Paul Young. Less than three months later, Young also receives marching orders. Eric Cooks takes over as caretaker coach.
Hawks Olympian Glen Saville leaves the club for arch-rivals Sydney Kings (before returning 12-months later)
On December 14, 2007, Hawks admit they face a financial crisis and could be extinct by season’s end. Within days it is confirmed club faces a $1 million shortfall, with a campaign launched led by the Illawarra Mercury and an administrative body known as Friends of the Hawks more than $400,000 is pledged by Hawks fans and sponsors for the club to be able to continue into 2008-09 season.
With Kings, Brisbane and Singapore out of NBL after going broke and then Sydney Spirit and Cairns fall into the hands of administrators during the 08/09 season, the NBL announces in November that the league will be revamped for 2009-10 season.
Basketball Australia sets out a criteria for admission into NewNBL, which includes a $1 million bank guarantee.
All existing clubs and interested parties are asked to submit a bid to join new league by February 27, 2009.
February 3, 2009Hawks ownership group confirms it will not be able to join new league on financial grounds. A sad day for Hawks fans across the region, with no other owners in sight.
Team plays in what everyone thought would be the final home game of the Hawks in front of sell-out crowd of almost 5,800 against the Adelaide 36ers Friday 13, 2009.
February 20Long-standing Wollongong captain Mat Campbell launches Save the Hawks campaign, pleading with community to pledge money and support to rescue club from extinction.
February 27Campbell submits Expression of Interest to NBL to be included in new national competition. Despite Hawks’ submission not meeting NBL criteria, Campbell remains optimistic and continues calls for a white knight to save the club.
March 27Foundation membership pledges raise almost $450,000 of a $500,000 target figure, but club still appears doomed without $1 million bank guarantee.
Repeated calls for a guarantor fall on deaf ears.
March 30NewNBL sets 3pm deadline for Hawks to find a guarantor. Campbell makes frantic morning phone calls and secures 2pm meeting with Indian businessman Arun Jagatramka.
As seconds wind down, Jagatramka gives answer all Hawks were sweating on.
Hawks get their bank guarantee and Campbell supremely confident club will be part of NewNBL.
JuneA not for profit community based company formed as Wollongong Hawks Basketball Limited to operate the Hawks into the future.
With the Hawks now part of an eight team National Basketball League competition, Hawks sign Illawarra legend Gordie McLeod as head coach and publically announce they will be competing with only 75% use of the salary cap.
Critics and basketball commentators write off the Hawks as finals contenders and many predict the Hawks to finish with the wooden spoon.
Hawks win the Pre-season Top End Challenge and maintain their position in the top four all season. After losing star import Tywain McKee with a back injury midway through the season, Hawks bring in veteran point guard Luke Martin to help fill the void. Hawks finish off the season with a 7-4 record without their star import and finish in second place behind the Perth Wildcats after 28 games.
Hawks secure home court advantage for the semi-finals series and defeat the Townsville Crocodiles 2-1. Hawks face Perth Wildcats in NBL: Grand Finals. Both teams split game one and two at home and the deciding game three is taken back to Perth. With all the odds against them the Hawks muster up a 17 point lead in the second quarter, but fail to capitalise. Perth win game three at home and are crowned the 2010 NBL Champions.
Head Coach Gordie McLeod is named NBL Coach of the Year.
Injured import Tywain McKee is named in all-NBL first team even with only playing 17 games in the season. Tywain leaves to the United States with his reputation tarnished after club learns about a string of driving offences.
Cameron Tragardh leaves the Hawks after three seasons to take up an offer with the Melbourne Tigers.
Hawks re-sign eight of the ten players from the 2009/10 season.