HAWI Sports Management was not only born out of the passion for sports administration, but also developed upon founder Merhawi (Hawi) Keflezighi's commitment to fostering the individual development of his clients, as competitors as well as role models.
Launched in 2005, HAWI Sports Management culminated from Hawi's many years of professional and educational experience. As a student manager for the UCLA Men�s Basketball Team from 1999-2002, Hawi was critical to the team's success as a consistently top ranked NCAA team. His experience on the court merged with his studies off the court as he went on to receive a B.A in Communication Studies from UCLA and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. From public relations to a legal education, the expertise Hawi has derived from UCLA signifies an essential foundation for his success as a sports manager.
Hawi boasts a diverse roster of athletic talent including 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist and top U.S. distance runner Meb Keflezighi, who happens to be his brother. Although familial support may play a role in Meb's continued success, it is apparent that Hawi treats all of its clients like a part of his family. Jon Rankin is one of USA's brightest hopes in the middle distances. Accomplished marathoner Peter Gilmore ended 2006 as the top American at the ING NYC Marathon. Jacques Sallberg has gradually ascended as one of the top steeplechasers in the nation, and is ready to make his mark at the next level. These clients are exemplary of the thriving success that reflects HAWI Sports Management today.
The present day success certainly represents a striking contrast to Hawi's humble beginnings. Born in the East African country of Eritrea, he was the sixth child in a family of eleven children. Born at the height of a protracted and devastating war (with neighboring Ethiopia), the future of his family would be determined by their only viable option: escape. Through a long journey consisting of determination, luck and faith, Hawi and his family reached the United States of America in 1987. Since then, the family's path to survival has been replaced with the path towards prosperity.
Hawi's formative experiences as a refugee have, hence, fueled his philanthropic endeavors. As director of Thirst For Learning, Inc. Hawi and his organization raised funds and coordinated the shipment of 50,000 books and educational supplies to school children in Eritrea. As the founder and former chairman of the Los Angeles branch of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS-LA), and leadership roles within the Eritrean American Athletic Association (EAAA), Hawi has leveraged his own influence to become one of the most active advocates within the Eritrean community in the Diaspora.
While Eritrea is very close to Hawi's heart, he has also been very active in USA focused humanitarian efforts. As an undergraduate at UCLA, Hawi was heavily involved in the University's official student charity, UniCamp, which inspires children from low-income households to envision brighter futures. While at UCLA School of Law, Hawi was a passionate contributor of the Public Interest Law Fund, which provides grants for law students to work in unpaid public interest or governmental legal internships during the summer. As a sports agent, Hawi is always looking for ways he and his clients can make a difference in the society they live in. Recently, Hawi recruited professional athletes to participate in the Kids for Entoto charity kick-off event.
As a model for personal and professional success, Hawi embodies the values that he promotes amongst all of his clients: passion, commitment, excellence, and philanthropy. It is a method conceived from both experience as well as aspiration. HAWI sports Management is the fire lit by Hawi's passion for creating mutually beneficial relationships. HAWI Sports Management looks to keep the flame burning amongst all those it deals with. As Philosopher James Keller said:
"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."