“We’re not thinking big enough.”

Previous head handball coach Mike Steele stood in the lobby of the Multnomah athletic club in 2012 and asked Grand Handball Master David Steinberg to become his assistant coach and be trained to take over the program in two years.

Steinberg, who holds twenty titles including a world championship title, was shocked.

“It was a huge opportunity to take over a respected program known throughout the country,” Steinberg said.

Two years later, Steele announced Steinberg taking over as the new handball head coach at a collegiate banquet in February.

Steinberg has been playing the sport competitively for 40 years and in that time has collected twenty-two championship handball championships, including first place in the 55-age division at the World Handball Championships in 2012.

Steinberg competed in the Pro Handball Tour for two years and came back from a massive rotator cuff injury in 2014 to win the U.S. Single’s 60-year division in 2014.

Coaching at Pacific was Steinberg’s first coaching experience outside of hosting various clinics and teaching 12 to 15-year-old’s at the Multnomah club and Steinberg said he was blown away at the tenacity and dedication displayed by the student athletes.

“Working with collegiate athletes gives me a completely different perspective from my own age group of handball players,” Steinberg said.

Tenacity and dedication are key factors to what drives Steinberg’s passion for handball. Having played for six years before winning a title,  Steinberg said he specifically relates to the new players who are struggling to pick the sport up.

“I love the tenacity that’s required and the difficulty,” Steinberg said. “The unique perspective of handball is rare in all sports.”

Steinberg will bring more than his experience in the sport to the handball team.

After he retired from his job at IBM, Steinberg studied and received certification as a sports-specific personal trainer. He said he began implementing specific weight training regimens to the team workouts and plans to continue it as he moves forward.

After beginning the team 38 years ago and taking 26 national titles, Steinberg said Steele left a solid foundation for him to take over. He said his plans to move forward are mainly to refine the rubric Steele already had in place.

“I can’t say enough about what he’s done working with the athletic department here,” Steinberg said.

The two-year transition period was invaluable to Steinberg because it gave him time to adjust to being a coach at a university and the detailed responsibilities that come along with it.

“I never would have guessed I would be teaching a college course and proctoring exams,” Steinberg said. “There’s a lot more to the job than I previously expected.”

Looking forward, Steinberg laughingly described his feelings about his first official season as head coach as a guarded confidence.

“By guarded, I mean I’m leading but I know I’ve got professor Steele as my guard behind me!”

The time Steinberg has spent being integrated into team as well his knowledge and experience in the sport will make for an exciting new era for the handball team.


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