After sensationally winning the 2016 European Championship with the German handball team in Poland and winning the Bronce medal at the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Dagur Sigurdsson is being hailed in the German media as the "father of success".
Dagur Sigurdsson - A Winner in all respects!
Born in 1973 in Reykjavik, Iceland, Dagur Sigurdsson grew up in an athletic family. He made it into the Icelandic Under-17 football team before deciding to focus entirely on handball, and subsequently enjoyed an extremely successful career as a world-class player, chalking up 215 international games and coming fourth with the Icelandic national team in the 2002 European Championship.
Sigurdsson won the Icelandic Championship five times, played in several European and World Championships and at the 2004 Olympics. During his active career he also held the post of player-coach at Wakunaga Hiroshima and A1 Bregenz. Between 2008 and 2010, Sigurdsson managed the Austrian national handball squad, which he led to an excellent ninth place at their ‘home’ European Championship in 2010. He was at the same time coach of Füchse Berlin, a side that under his leadership became one of the leading DKB Bundesliga teams. His greatest achievements as coach of Füchse Berlin were winning the DHB Cup in 2014 and EHF European Cup in 2015.
In August 2014, Dagur Sigurdsson embraced his to date most important and biggest challenge by taking over as coach of the German national squad. And this is a role in which he wrote his own unparalleled success story. Sigurdsson took over a team that was in the throes of crisis and had just missed qualifying for the World Championship. German handball was at rock bottom. But in just 18 months, the Icelander was successful in shaping a young and inexperienced squad into a team that made the impossible happen with its will to win, morale and a unique team spirit: the underdog – this young German side – lifted the 2016 European Championship title in Poland.
2016 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS
The German national handball team played itself into a true frenzy during this tournament. Despite suffering a spate of injuries, Dagur Sigurdsson’s squad eliminated one top team after the other until reaching the final and the showdown with their opponents Spain. It was the overwhelming favourites against a young and astonishingly good German side. And from the onset it was apparent that the Germans would not be cowed. Sigurdsson’s team dominated the match from start to finish.
The triumph of this highly disciplined German squad was never in doubt – not for a single second. The end score was an outstanding 24:17. Never before had a finalist prevented the opponent from scoring fewer goals. Never before had there been such a dramatic coup in international handball. And the father of this success is Dagur Sigurdsson.
His tactical artistry, strategic preparation and calm demeanour guided the team throughout the entire tournament, instilling within each and every player confidence in their own strength and by extension in the whole team.
Sigurdsson succeeded in keeping the team on the ground and maintaining focus. After failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, the German team is – thanks to Sigurdsson – once again a force to be reckoned with in international handball and a talking point at home. The 2016 European Championship success will accompany the squad as they embark on their Rio Olympics campaign.
Dagur Sigurdsson has garnered multiple accolades for his sporting achievements: in Austria he was a three-time recipient of the award for the foreign player of the year, in Germany "Coach of 2011". After winning the European Championship with Germany, he is now nominated for the 2016 IHF "World Coach of the Year" award.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not only honoured Sigurdsson’s team in Berlin for its incredible spirit in winning the gold medal, but has also heaped praise in particular on Sigurdsson, who has achieved so much with his special talent for motivating his players.
Meticulous attention to detail, creativity and a unflappable temperament are important pillars of his success – both in and beyond a sports-oriented environment. In addition to his stellar career as a pro handball player and coach, Sigurdsson is also enjoying success as an entrepreneur and founder. As an entrepreneur, he is best known as a co-founder of the acclaimed Icelandic Kex Hostel in Reykjavik. Other business interests include the gastronomy, motorcar and IT industries.
Dagur Sigurdsson is a creative thinker and tactician who not also makes plans but also follows them through to completion. His unconventional approach and ability to think outside the box and come up with surprising solutions is a recipe for success. Sigurdsson embraced the story of the "bad boys", the NBA champions the Detroit Pistons, to lead the national handball side to victory. His motivational approach allowed the German team to "live the legend" and ultimately led them to claiming the title.
He is an architect of success whose high degree of authenticity gives him the skills to motivate others by focusing on the here and now. Sigurdsson combines years of solid experience with versatility and the ability to captivate his audience both on and off the playing field.
The road to the European Championship title:
Dagur Sigurdsson took on a German national handball team in a state of deep crisis. After failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 European Championship, participation in the 2015 World Championship in Qatar was also at risk. A wild card opened up the opportunity to play in Qatar, and Germany finished the tournament placed seventh with a narrow quarter-finals defeat to the home team – two places lower than in 2013 but with newly found confidence and a coach with his sights set firmly on the future. At the end of the 2014/15 season, Sigurdsson ended his tenure with Füchse Berlin to devote himself entirely to the national team. Sigurdsson is the architect of the German handball miracle – within a short time, he succeeded in moulding a team of nobodies into European champions. He identified and embraced opportunities and was able win over an injury-stricken team of young players. To date, 38 international games have been played with Sigurdsson at the helm, of which 29 have been won – an incredible result.
• Young and wild – team leadership for Generation Y
• Adjustment or substitution – of individualists and team players
• From regular guy to great guy: everyone can overcome their own limits
• Attacking with limited qualities – from underdog to bad boy; from bad boy to winner
• Goal reached, hungry for more – how to bother the big boys
• Preparation is good, but implementation is decisive – reaching goals
• Short and sweet – it’s all in the statement
• Resting on the laurels of success? The next challenge waits
• I must, I must, I must – the right way to use motivation and fun to enhance performance
• Concentration makes winners – learning to focus properly
• The desire to win and the fear of losing – faith moves mountains