It wasn’t always glamorous but for more than half a century Tom Penrose put in the hard yards to help basketball thrive across New South Wales.
Tom was a major force in the development of NSW Country basketball, firstly in the west of the State before relocating to the Illawarra.
He was an outstanding mentor to younger athletes, using the knowledge he gathered studying basketball in the US to coach many elite representative teams – including the NSW U16 Men’s team in 1960 and 1961 and the NSW Open Women in 1970 and 1972.
Tom founded the “Trotters” Club, which helped put Illawarra basketball on the map and he also built a powerhouse basketball program at Keira Boys High School in Wollongong.
His success as head coach of Illawarra in the South East Conference helped maintain the region’s reputation Australia-wide, helping ensure continued representation at the NBL level.
Tom’s passion and loyalty saw him remain an assistant coach with the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL for many years.
He became a Life Member of the club in the 2003-04 season for his significant contributions over many years of service.
The Tom Penrose Community Service Grant is offered by Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) in memory of Tom’s outstanding contribution as a pioneer in exercise and sports science and his contributions to associates and trainees in teaching and his valuable contribution to his local community.