Moen would run an extra mile for LarvikArticle
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FIRST-HAND INSIGHT: Tor Odvar Moen may not bring Larvik to the EHF FINAL4 once again, but his qualities as coach and his commitment have already brought the team far this season and are likely to bring Larvik far also in the future.

Moen would run an extra mile for Larvik

Tor Odvar Moen may not be able to make his players believe that they can still reach the Women's EHF FINAL4. Deep down, he may not even believe in the chance himself.

His team is chasing a 14-goal deficit in the home match against HC Vardar on Sunday, after losing 34:20 in the Sport Center Jane Sandanski in Skopje last Saturday. Even the most optimistic Larvik fan will have difficulties believing that the team can still turn the tables in the Arena Larvik.

However, if anyone would be able to rise the team's spirit again, it would be Moen.

The 51-year-old coach has proved time after time, and this season in particular, that he can make his players believe in themselves and in their skills.

His working conditions have not been easy, after he took over as head coach in Larvik for the second time, as Ole Gustav Gjekstad decided to seek new challenges outside the handball environment after taking the team to the final of Women's EHF FINAL4 last year.

The club was suffering from severe financial problems and because a bankruptcy had been close, the team had to start the Norwegian league season with a minus of three points.

At the same time, the club was only allowed by the Norwegian federation to sign a maximum of 16 players who had to try and carry the team through the EHF Champions League as well as the national league and the domestic cup.

Against – almost – all odds

Nevertheless, Tor Odvar Moen to led Larvik to the quarter-finals of Europe's top flight competition after second places in the group phase as well as in the main round.

Furthermore, the team compensated so efficiently for the loss of the three points from the start of the season that the club won the Norwegian league with two match days to go.

Moen's role in the club is emphasised by the fact that out of the 18 times Larvik won the Norwegian league, he has been involved in 10 of them in various functions.

One of his greatest advantages in his present job is the fact that he knows the club inside out and that everyone in the club knows him and what he stands for.

Tor Odvar Moen has been with Larvik without interruption since 1997 in various functions – head coach, assistant coach, various officials. He once joked that the only functions in the club he never had was being a goalkeeper and selling sponsorships.

You do not stay that long in one club and take on so many different jobs without having certain feelings for this club. Feelings that go far beyond just doing a job.

Denmark's former football national coach Morten Olsen once said: "When I was a player, I ran further for a friend than I did for a colleague." This is probably the secret behind Moen's success in Larvik.

When you are always ready to step in for your club, as Moen has been for Larvik, it proves that you are willing to walk that extra mile – that extra mile you do not just walk for a colleague, but for a friend, for someone or something that really means something to you.

Moen's commitment brought Larvik far

One of Tor Odvar Moen's main qualities in his current job as head coach is his team building, his way of handling his players.

He is particularly good at making them believe in themselves and in each other, and it is probably no coincidence that Moen was also head coach in 2011, when Larvik won the EHF Champions League for the only time in the club's history so far.

Last year, he was assistant coach under Gjekstad as Larvik reached the final of the Women's EHF FINAL4 in Budapest, so the leap to taking over the job as head coach once again was not that big.

He admitted that he had to consider the offer to take over the hot seat again. He even admitted that he had considered doing something else, but as he said, he ended up realizing that it was Larvik where he belongs.

Tor Odvar Moen may not bring Larvik to the EHF FINAL4 once again, but his qualities as coach and his commitment have already brought the team far this season and are likely to bring Larvik far also in the future.

A special reward for Moen's job this season is the nomination for the Women's EHF All-star Team for which you can vote here.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / es