France: Grizzlys Catalans sign legendary Spanish coach Óscar Calatayud

Óscar Calatayud, former head coach of Spain’s Badalona Dracs and the Spanish national team, has signed to coach the Grizzlys Catalans in the French Division 1 Elite.

Calatayud spent 17 years as the Dracs head coach, leading them to win six of their 11 LNFA league titles, five of which came consecutively between 2016 and 2021 – a stretch which saw the team’s record reach an astonishing 62-5 against Spanish teams. He made the decision to part ways with the team in 2022 after losing in the semifinals, resulting in the Dracs first championship game no-show since 2012.

Calatayud will now take on France, a completely new journey for the Spanish football legend.

“It’s a great opportunity, The French league is very powerful and different from the Spanish one. They have a great physical level, good organization in general and a lot of tradition. It has been very nice that Catalans Grizzlys bet on me. For me it is a challenge because of how different football is in France. It is a team with little history but they have worked very well and have managed to rise and settle in the first division. They have qualified for the playoffs for the last two years. It’s a big challenge.”

The Grizzlys Catalans are the newest of the 12 active teams in France’s top division, founded as the Grizzlys of St Laurent de la Salanque. They earned back-to-back promotions in 2018 and 2019, going from Division 3 to Division 1.

The Grizzlys advanced to the playoffs this season for the second straight year as a wildcard after a 6-3-1 season, losing out in the first round in a 41-31 shootout with La Courneuve Flash.

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.