Departing Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson who is pursing an NBA coaching opportunity. (Photo: @PerthWildcats/Twitter).

Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson is departing the club to purse an NBA coaching opportunity after winning five NBL championships.

The Perth Wildcats and head coach Trevor Gleeson have mutually agreed to part ways following Gleeson requesting to be released from the final year of his contract, after receiving an NBA coaching opportunity.

Gleeson is one of the most successful NBL coaches of all time having won five championships and taking the Wildcats to six finals appearances since joining the organisation in 2013.

Recently named the 2021 NBL Coach of the Year, Gleeson led the Wildcats to a second-place finish in the regular season and taking them to NBL Finals again this past season.

His eight seasons and club record of 269 games coached marks the most successful period in the Wildcats 40-year history.

Under Gleeson, the Wildcats became the first team to win more than four titles in total.

Gleeson reflected on his time with the team and thanked the Western Australian community for the support they offered his family during his wife, Dawn’s battle with breast cancer.

“I’m excited by the opportunity, but I’m very sad to leave a great organisation like the Perth Wildcats,” said Gleeson.

“I still remember being interviewed by the board in 2013, and the faith and support they gave me all the way through has been incredible.

“When Dawn had her reoccurrence of breast cancer, the support the Perth Wildcats, the Perth community and the Red Army gave us around that time was something I’ll never forget. They embraced us, and Perth is always going to be home for us.

“We tried to give back as much as we could to the community with the Pink Game, and we won a few championships along the way.

“It’s been an unbelievable eight-year journey, it exceeded my expectations on every level. It’s very much mixed emotions to be leaving players and coaches that I love, as well as the organisation and the staff. But I know it will be a happy chapter of my life when I look back on it. I’m ready for this next adventure.”

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Perth Wildcats CEO Troy Georgiu thanked Gleeson for his enormous contribution to the club.

“Legacy is something we value here at the Perth Wildcats, and Trevor’s is unparalleled. Very few have had his impact on this organisation’s great history,” said Mr Georgiu.

“His recruiting changed the game, and his ability to have his playing group buy-in to his system is remarkable. He builds teams for Finals success, and his record is testament to that.

“Everyone at the Perth Wildcats organisation, and the wider Red Army as a whole, is extremely grateful for the success and wonderful memories Trevor has brought us.

“He deserves this exciting opportunity to take this next step in his career. We wish him nothing but continued success.”

Coaching Journey

This is a well-deserved opportunity for Gleeson who has been coaching professionally since joining the Brisbane Bullets in 1997 as a development coach.

Since then he has served as an assistant in the United States for NBA G League teams, the Quad City Thunder and Sioux Falls Skyforce. He also got the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Skyforce for one season in 2003-04.

He then spent two seasons in the Korean Basketball League serving as an assistant before moving back home in 2006 to serves as the head coach of the Townsville Crocodiles (2006-11), Melbourne Tigers (2011-12) and then the Wildcats.

Gleeson has also spent time coaching on the international level, being a part of the coaching staff for the Australian Boomers 2014 FIBA World Cup campaign, 2015 FIBA Oceania Championship and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Gleeson leaves having made a huge impact on Western Australia on and off the court being an advocate for women’s health and Western Australian Ambassador for the Mother’s Day Classic, an annual fun run and walk raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research.

In 2017 Gleeson found out his wife, Dawn had breast cancer which inspired him to take action also launching the annual “Pink Game”, where the Wildcats wear pink uniforms in one regular-season game to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Care WA.

 There has yet to be any confirmation of which NBA team Gleeson is set to work for or what his role will be.

More to come.

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