The father of NBA superstar Jayson Tatum has been appointed the interim coach of the Illawarra Hawks after the struggling NBL outfit sacked its head coach mid-season.
On Tuesday the Hawks announced coach Jacob Jackomas had been sacked effective immediately following the club’s 2-7 start to the NBL season.
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Jackomas met with club officials on Tuesday, with both parties agreeing it was in everyone’s best interests to go their separate ways.
Assistant Justin Taytum will step in as interim coach for the foreseeable future, starting with Illawarra’s game against the New Zealand Breakers on Sunday.
It comes after the Hawks lost 25 of their 28 games last season – the worst in franchise history – to finish with the wooden spoon having made the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons under former coach Brian Goorjian.
The Hawks reportedly sounded out Boomers coach Goorjian and former Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson for their interest in the role before settling on Tatum.
Tatum is the dad of Boston Celtics forward and NBA All-Star Jayson Tatum, who seemed to be aware of the appointment before Jackomas was even out the door.
“I found out last night – I’m extremely happy for him and proud of him,” Tatum said after Boston’s win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday.
“That’s a big step. I know he has been trying to build his resume and coaching career.
“He has been over in Australia for the past 12 months and now he is the head coach for the Hawks.
“I’m excited for him.”
Whether Taytum is appointing head coach on a permanent basis remains to seen.
Former Breakers assistant Judd Flavell is a leading candidate to be the next full-time Hawks coach after he steered the Canterbury Rams to their first title in 31 years in New Zealand’s National Basketball League.
“These decisions are never taken lightly, and on behalf of the club, I want to thank Jacob for all his hard work during his time at the Hawks and wish him well in his future coaching endeavours,” Hawks general manager of basketball Mat Campbell said.
“Unfortunately, our performances over the first nine games of the NBL24 season, following a challenging NBL23 campaign, have not met the club’s expectations, and we agreed that Jacob should finish his duties.”
Things haven’t improved this year, with Illawarra winning just two of its first nine matches, including a 10-point defeat in Cairns on Saturday.
“I would like to thank Jacob for the work ethic and professionalism he brought with him daily during his time with the Hawks,” Hawks chief executive Stu Taggart said.
“The club remains firmly committed to building a basketball program and an organisation focused on sustained performance and success.
“The leadership of the team and the direction the team is taking are the responsibilities of the head coach, and the club must take a different path now, without delay.”
— With NCA Newswire
Originally published as NBA star Jayson Tatum’s dad lands NBL coaching gig after Illawarra Hawks sacking