End of an Era: Oscar Calatayud steps down as HC for Badalona Dracs after 17 years

An era has come to an end in the Spanish, and European, football communities as Badalona Dracs head coach Oscar Calatayud, has announced he is stepping down after 17 years pacing the sidelines for the 11 time Spanish champions.

The announcement comes after Badalona lost in the Spanish semifinals and for the first time since 2012, will not be playing for the Spanish title.

Calatayud explains:

“There are many small reasons, 17 years is a long time. I felt that it was the best for the team, a change of direction and another type of leadership is needed. I hope I can help in whatever the team needs.”

Calatayud’s record as a head coach for Badalona is stunning. After taking over the Dracs prior to the 2006 season, he led them to six Spanish league titles, the last five in a row until this year, and four Spanish Cup wins. His overall record since 2006 is 128-41-1 but since 2016 he has lost just five games against Spanish teams as head coach of the Dracs and won 62. Add to this the four league titles he won as a player, and he is without peer.

His history in the Spanish football community is of the same caliber starting as a young player with the Badalona Dracs in 1998. He won a national title under one of the first coaches to revolutionize Spanish football, Mexican Carlos Barocio-Leon, and saw his talents take him further afield. He spent a season in Mexico playing for the Universidad de Las Americas and then a season with the Swarco Raiders in Austria before returning to Badalona. By the age of 26, Calatayud’s body was failing him. He’d already had six or seven surgeries for various injuries and doctors were telling him he had to hang up his cleats. The Dracs were in equally rough shape, facing severe budgetary difficulties, and the successful organization was in dire need of a rebuild. The board turned to the retiring Calatayud to fill its vacant head coaching position in 2005 and the rest is history.

In the 15 years since he exited the game as a player and first picked up the coach’s whistle, Calatayud has helped shape the Badalona Dracs into a Spanish powerhouse, including winning the  LNFA title six times, including the last five, until this year. More importantly however, the Dracs have become a competitive entity in European competition, a remarkable feat for a team coming from one of the continent’s weaker football nations.

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