WARRNAMBOOL export Trevor Gleeson is breathing rare air as a three-time NBL championship coach.
Gleeson, who honed his coaching skills via his home-town’s Seahawks and Mermaids programs, orchestrated Perth Wildcats’ cleansweep grand final series win over Illawarra Hawks.
A 45-point Bryce Cotton masterclass delivered Perth its eighth championship and first back-to-back titles in 26 years in front of a sellout crowd at Perth Arena on Sunday.
Gleeson labelled the triumph – his third in four years in charge of the powerhouse franchise – “incredible”.
The Wildcats sat at the bottom of the ladder in December before rallying to make their 31st straight playoff series.
They had to win their final two home and away matches to keep their streak intact and went on to claim both of their playoff campaigns, against Cairns and Illawarra, in straight sets.
“This competition was so tough with the increased skill set in the NBL,” Gleeson said after the Wildcats’ 95-86 game three grand final series win.
“I’m just so proud of the guys, of how they performed in the playoffs. To go five and zip is incredible.
“This is why you coach basketball – to coach guys like this.”
The Wildcats’ victory sent retiring club legend Shawn Redhage off on a winning note, with inspirational skipper Damian Martin inviting the former Olympian to lift the trophy on the dais alongside Gleeson.