Bob Hanning: The colorful dog of German handball

21. November 2022 – Katharina Schlangenotto

Bob Hanning is now a household name, and not just among handball fans. The “colorful dog of handball” held the office of vice president of the German Handball Federation between the years 2013 and 2021. Since the 2021/22 season, he has been coaching the third-division team 1. VfL Potsdam. When he resigned from his post, the Süddeutsche Zeitung ran the headline, “Napoleon steps down: Bob Hanning quits handball federation.” Who is the man who is now managing director of Füchse Berlin Handball GmbH and coaches 1. VfL Potsdam on the side?

Bob Hanning about passion for youth development & team

One of his passions is youth development. He also coaches youth teams and it is particularly important to him to impart values to the young athletes. Among other things, Bob Hanning introduced the concept “Amateurs Hope. Professionals Work.” and therefore played a key role in raising the association to a new level.

In the course of moving from vice president of the German Handball Federation back into the handball arena, he published his first and so far only book “Hanning. Macht. Handball.” It went straight to becoming a Spiegel bestseller. The title fits his self-proclaimed nickname “Napoleon.” Some speak of him as a narcissistic personality, others refer to him simply as one who pushes things and sets things in motion.

The German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” wrote about at the time: “Bob Hanning is the greatest media professional German handball has ever seen. One who calls himself “Napoleon,” who shows up for the (German news show) Tagesthemen interview in a brightly colored sweater, who always puts himself in the loudest wind – and has moved a lot in the background.” The 1.68-meter-tall Bob Hanning is described as a “charismatic manager,” a “sports official with cult status” who has the “courage of opinion and confrontation.”

Whatsapp group “Ascent 2022”

The ambitious Hanning believes in the future of young talent. In an interview with rbb.24, he said after the promotion of 1st VfL Potsdam: “We are the youngest team to be promoted in the history of the third division. In the final games, our average age was 20 years old and we only had one player on the team who was not from our training program. That’s special.”

He is convinced that promoting youth lays the foundation for handball, not only but also in Berlin and Brandenburg. He takes care of his passion and the success proves him right. It also shows the other side of “Napoleon”, who is obviously concerned with the development of other (young) personalities – not just his own.

Bob Hanning says: “I am very proud of what we have created in Berlin with Füchse Town. We have brought together professionals and youth: That creates cohesion, that creates togetherness, that creates motivation through identification. Word of the success of our project has spread: In recent years, we have had regular guests, including from the world of soccer – from Borussia Mönchengladbach to RB Leipzig. Our philosophy of not only signing international stars but also developing our own comes to life through the promotion of our youth national players.”

In his key-notes, he talks about leading through personality, change management, motivation through identification, elite promotion – from talent to national player, leadership in competitive and youth sports
the development of a sustainable company, or how well-rehearsed teams beat any budget.

Bob Hanning

Handball Coach & Sports Manager