The Örebro Black Knights, who play in Sweden’s Superserien, have signed Timothy Speckman as their new head coach for the 2020 season.
The 39 year old Speckman, a native of Redwood City, California, and graduate of Willamette University, has had an extensive football coaching career in Germany, most recently as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach for the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes of the German Football League. He had moved over to the Hurricanes from the Hamburg Huskies where he served as head coach and sports director. He originally arrived in Germany in 2012 as the head coach and offensive coordinator for the Lübeck Seals where he stayed for two seasons. He played at Willamette and coached at the school in 2005 (slot receivers) and then again from 2007-2011 (running backs). His father, Mark Speckman, is currently running backs and assistant head coach with Dan Hawkins (former OC with Carlstad Crusaders) who is the head coach at UC Davis.
Since entering Sweden’s top league in 2011, the Black Knights have reached the Swedish championship game four times (2013-2015 and 2017).
AFI: Congratulations on signing as HC for the Black Knights. You have been coaching in Germany for the past eight years. Why the move to Sweden?
Speckman: Thank you! Yeah, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past eight years working in Germany. I’ve met so many wonderful people and had some amazing experiences along the way. I will continue to live part of the year in Germany, it is my home away from home these days.
The move to Sweden for me was primarily a chance at a new experience with a motivated organization. I’m excited to get to know a new culture, a new community and a new group of people who have a passion for this great game. All the people I have had contact with inside the organization have been very positive and have a lot of love for their team. We share a similar vision, and that alone is an important first step.
AFI: How much do you know about football in Sweden and about Orebro?
Speckman: Well I certainly have a lot to learn about football in Sweden. I’ve seen some of their international competitions and have followed the league from a distance since I first came to Europe. I have helped out at some summer camps in Sweden the past couple years, that was my first direct experience in the country. I also know some coaches and a few players who have played or coached in the league over the years. They have all been supportive and given me an overview of what I can expect. Everyone I talked to had positive things to say about Sweden and about Orebro, that also helped with my decision.
AFI: What are your thoughts about the level of the game in Sweden?
Speckman: It’s always hard to directly compare leagues, as I’m sure you know, because of the different import rules and league structures. But I have seen a lot of talent playing in and coming out of Sweden in the past few years. The National team has also been playing well.
AFI: You have served in many different coaching capacities although offense is your specialty. The Black Knights struggled last year. What types of changes do you foresee?
Speckman: I will definitely be bringing some new ideas into the mix offensively. It will ultimately depend on the personnel we have, but I enjoy getting creative on offense and I think our players will have fun with it. We will put a big focus on teaching the fundamentals, giving our players the tools they need to succeed, and go from there.
AFI: With your extensive coaching background in Germany, will you focus more of your recruiting there?
Speckman: It won’t be a focus really. One of our goals will be to build, develop and work with local talent, but I think every coach likes to work with players he knows he can trust to deliver, be a great teammate and play the game the right way. So you never know.
AFI: Do you see this as a long-term commitment?
Speckman: At this point it’s still too soon to say exactly how long the commitment will be. The GFL was a mine field this year for coaches. You never know how long you get. I’m just focused on doing a great job for these players and this community and hopefully we can build something special that lasts.
AFI: When do you arrive in Orebro?
Speckman: I’ll be there for a first visit in November. Once the season gets closer, I will be there full time.
AFI: Anything else you would like to add?
Speckman: I really appreciate what you do for our sport internationally. Keep it up, and thank you!