_SUM0898 kopia

After the end of the 2021 national team season, both the men's and the women's national teams of Poland found themselves without coaches.

The Poland men's team won two medals this year: a silver at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and a EuroVolley bronze. At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, however, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals and the leadership of the Polish Volleyball Federation (PVF) decided not to extend Vital Heynen's contract.

Jacek Nawrocki, who had worked with the women's team since 2015, resigned unexpectedly after the European Championship, even though his contract was valid until 2022. Since September, he has led Grupa Azoty Chemik Police, the current national champions of Poland.

Following elections last September, the PVF’s leadership also underwent a change and new president Sebastian Świderski and his associates from the management board decided that Nawrocki and Heynen's successors would be selected via a competitive process.

Candidates were asked to assess the potential of both national teams, present their concept for work, together with short- (2022) and long-term (till 2024 Olympic Games) goals. As many as 24 coaches wanted to work with the women’s team. "Among the applications there is one sent by a Polish coach and there are many very interesting candidates," said Aleksandra Jagieło, head of the PVF’s Women's Volleyball Commission.

Tomasz Paluch, member of the PVF Board, who supervised the selection process for the men's team, revealed that there had been six offers, interestingly, all sent in the last week before the deadline.

After an initial verification process, both committees selected four candidates each. Those wanting to work with the men’s team opted to keep their names undisclosed, while the new coach of the women's national team was chosen from a list of candidates including Stephane Antiga (Developres Rzeszów), Alessandro Chiappini (IŁ Capital Legionovia), Daniele Santerelli (Imoco Volley Conegliano) and Stefano Lavarini (Igor Gorgonzola Novara).

At today’s meeting in Gliwice, the PVF board decided that Lavarini would lead the Polish women's team and Grbić their male counterparts.

The 43-year-old Lavarini spent most of his career at Foppapedretti Bergamo, winning the national cup in 2016. From 2017 to 2019, the Italian led Minas and was crowned champion of Brazil two years ago. Currently, he works for Igor Gorgonzola Novara, No. 2 of the Italian Serie A.

As a player, Nikola Grbić was an Olympic champion in Sydney in 2000. He achieved his greatest coaching success so far in May 2021, when he won the Champions League with Grupa Azoty Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle. After that triumph, he went on to lead Sir Safety Perugia in the Italian league.