After eight years with Nîmes (at the end of March, after the defeat against Montpellier, he gave way to his deputy Yann Balmossière, ed.), Franck Maurice will take over the fate of the Dunkirk team for the next three seasons with the ambition of bringing it northern club back to top.
How are these moments of waiting before they reach Dunkirk?
You need to know how to take a step back and be out of the pressure, as well as the acceleration of this season finale. These are also important moments personally. If it were not for this new Dunkirk project, I might have experienced it differently. It allows me to regenerate and prepare the sequel calmly and above all time, and with a lot of enthusiasm.
Does this time allow you to look back on your career?
It’s also time to settle down, look at what we’ve been able to do, even though I’m not one to regret. What has been done cannot be changed. It is very rewarding to see what time has brought us. It is overcoming difficult times. The rest allows us to better prepare for the future.
Franck Maurice ready for a new challenge
How would you describe your story with Nîmes?
I’m proud of what we’ve achieved with the people who accompanied me on this adventure, whether it’s staff or players. We have put Nîmes back in a place that is its own and that it deserves. It is a historic club that has the ability to play with the teams that matter in this increasingly difficult championship.
It’s a high level again this year. We succeeded by starting from a relegation team, we revived what are the club’s values and which brought us to 3rd place and the Europa Cup. With individual achievements, within this great adventure, which has been strong. Mohamed Sanad scored his goal number 1000. There have been players who have become internationals like Elohim Prandi.
Others are real symbols of the club like Julien Rebichon and Benjamin Gallego. There is the emergence of Rémi Desbonnet. It’s not so often to see a coach spend eight years in one place. I was lucky to have the longest life in the club. I have a sense of accomplishment, regardless of the end today.
“I know what it takes for a team to climb the stairs in this championship”
Do you want to stay in Dunkirk for the same length of time now?
I arrive already with great respect for the work of Patrick (Cazal) and Arnaud (Calbry). I go behind someone who has had a very long time in the club. There is much admiration for what was done in Dunkirk. It is the desire to leave, as was the case with USAM eight years ago. I have the same enthusiasm and a stronger energy, enriched by my experience. I know what it takes for a team to climb the steps of this championship, even though they are higher than a few years ago. I also know the dangers that await this kind of progression.
What are the goals of Dunkirk?
For the club, for the staff that comes and the players, there are motivating and driving elements. We want to do great things. Dunkirk is a historic club and an important center of French handball. People are happy for me and the project. Dunkirk counts in the landscape of French handball.
There are lots of good things to do. It’s a real challenge. There is a lot of motivation in the leaders and the people who are in place. We want to continue what has been put in place so far and give it a different energy and form. I’m in the same situation as Patrick (Cazal) today when I left Nîmes. The leaders are looking to give a new dynamic. I will try to bring that up next season.
Dunkirk ready to shake up the hierarchy
Do you have any ambitions for Dunkirk in the next few years?
We must respect the current work and let the season end. Then it will be necessary to discover and take responsibility for the structures as well as the players. We will try to make our mark on it and find our way of working on a daily basis. We want to move forward in the hierarchy of our championship. It has to go gradually by putting what we want in place. There are work habits that we would like to accuse, while giving a positive energy to the team.
We want to work in a calm atmosphere that promotes everyone’s development. This applies to all levels of the club and in particular training. That was our strength at USAM. To ensure that young people can identify with the players on the first team. We want to give this energy to the kids in the club. We know the mission that is ours. We want to make Dunkirk a locomotive in Hauts-de-France.