THE man who saved the Hawks has walked away from his role as general manager.
Mat Campbell, whose No.32 playing singlet hangs from the WIN Entertainment Centre rafters, was behind the campaign to rescue the embattled club in 2009 and has since helped them through two rounds of voluntary administration.
On Friday morning, the Hawks announced Campbell would 'step down', but will remain as an ambassador, as well as being part of a new advisory team to oversee the club's direction.
Australian Community Media understands the new Hawks ownership has been discussing structural change in recent weeks, amid rumours a high profile NBL identity has been sounded out about being involved.
"The past two and a half years have been rewarding both personally and professionally," Campbell said in a statement.
"When I started in the role, the club was in dire straits.
"It needed a sustainable model to ensure the long-term viability of the club and my objective was to make sure that the club remains in the Illawarra for another 40 years - which our new ownership group can do.
"I am incredibly proud to have achieved everything I set out to do as general manager.
"The Hawks will always hold a special place in my heart however, I am excited to see what [new coach Brian Goorjian] Goorj can do with the team."
Goorjian took his first training session at the Snakepit on Thursday.
Indian mining magnate Arun Jagatramka backed the Hawks financially after Campbell's 'Save The Hawks' campaign, before the club went through voluntary administration when James Spenceley took over.
Campbell then oversaw the club through more turmoil at the collapse of Simon Stratford's ownership era, which led to the NBL and the new owners dumping the Illawarra name under the latest rebuild.
"We are incredibly grateful to Mat and the hard work he has put in over the years to get the club to where it is," Hawks co-owner Dorry Kordahi said in the statement.
"Whilst we understand Mat's decision, we are looking forward to his continued involvement in the club.
"Mat has been invaluable to the club and particularly to us, in navigating the new ownership and business structure.
"It will be hard to replace him, however we now begin our search."
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