Ulrik Wilbek

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Ulrik Wilbek
Ulrik Wilbek.jpg
Ulrik Wilbek, 2007
Medal record
Coach for men's handball
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2013 Spain Team
Silver medal – second place 2011 Sweden Team
Bronze medal – third place 2007 Germany Team
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 2012 Serbia Team
Gold medal – first place 2008 Norway Team
Silver medal – second place 2014 Denmark Team
Bronze medal – third place 2006 Switzerland Team
Coach for women's handball
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place Personality Awards Team
Gold medal – first place 1996 United States Team
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1997 Germany Team
Silver medal – second place 1993 Norway Team
Bronze medal – third place 1995 Austria Team
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1996 Denmark Team
Gold medal – first place 1994 Germany Team

Ulrik Wilbek (born 13 April 1958, in Tunis, Tunisia) is a Danish team handball coach and politician.[1] He is the most successful Danish national coach ever, having won 2 European championships with the men and 2 European championships, 1 World championship and 1 Olympic gold medal with the women.

He was the head coach for the Danish men's national handball team from 2005-2014.[2] He led the Danish team to win the 2008 European Men's Handball Championship in Norway, the 2012 European Men's Handball Championship and obtained silver at the 2011 World Men's Handball Championship in Sweden, and bronze medals both at the 2006 European Men's Handball Championship in Switzerland and at the 2007 World Men's Handball Championship in Germany.

He is married to former handball player Susanne Munk Wilbek.

Women's handball[edit]

Wilbek's first international successes came as coach for the Danish Women's national youth team in the late 1980s. Here he first coached players like Anja Andersen and his wife-to-be Susanne Munk Lauritsen. A few years later, he was asked to be coach for the national A-team,[3] which nearly was closed in the early 1990s due to bad results. Wilbek took the challenge and promoted a couple of the youth players, and the team had its first success as finalist in the 1993 World Women's Handball Championship, losing only after extra time.

In the following years, Wilbek was in the lead of the team, that became one of the most successful national handball teams of all times and at the same time one of the most popular teams in Danish sport. The team was European Champions in 1994 and won bronze medals at 1995 World Championship. The peak of the team was reached at the end of 1997, when the team was reigning World Champions (1997), European Champions (1996), and Olympic Champions (1996). This was the first time in handball history that a national team held all 3 major titels at the same time and only 2 other national teams have accomplished it since. It also marked the end of Wilbek's career as coach for the women's national team, having won everything.

Club handball[edit]

Wilbek's initial work as a handball coach was in his own club, Virum Sorgenfri Håndboldklub, in 1985–88 (elite men). Just turned 30, he came to Viborg HK as a coach for the ambitious women's team, which by then had just been promoted to the Danish top league. Within a few years, he led the club to their first medals (silver in 1991), and the Danish National team now wanted him as a coach for the women's team.

After five extremely successful years as national coach, Wilbek again turned towards club coaching. He was reappointed as coach for Viborg HK's elite women, and again he showed his excellence: The team became national champions for four consecutive years and reached the final in the 2001 EHF Champions League.

He now needed new challenges and turned towards the club's men's team in the early 2000s. This marked Wilbek's least successful period as a coach with no medals won. But he was still popular within the national handball association, and in 2005 he was appointed coach of the national men's team. In 2006 he led the team to a 3rd-place finish at the European Championships and in 2007 they finished 3rd in The World Championship. In 2008 he led the team to first place in the 2008 European Men's Handball Championship.

Danish Handball Federation[edit]

In 2016, after four years as a manager for the Danish Handball Federation DHF, Ulrik Wilbek was submitting his resignation to the federation.

The termination comes after the internal disturbances during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where Ulrik contacted bearing profiles of the men's national team to discuss coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson future before the finals and asked the players if they felt coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson should be sacked. Coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson later led the team to a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.[4][5] After the controversy, Ulrik handed over his responsibilities to others in DHF, and then used his energy on the local political work in Viborg.[6]


Ulrik Wilbek was a member of the city council of Viborg for the political party Venstre from 1998 to 2001.

After retiring from handball, he was elected to Viborg city council again in the municipal elections in November 2017. He has served as mayor of Viborg since January 2018.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Ulrik Wilbek bliver borgmester i Viborg". Nordjyske. 22 November 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Denmark" Archived 2008-01-29 at the Wayback Machine European Handball Federation (Retrieved on January 27, 2008)
  3. ^ "Dame A-trænere gennem årene" (in Danish). Dansk Håndbold Forbund. Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "Toptræner: Wilbek har flere gange svækket sin landstræner". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  5. ^ "Danmark brød den franske forbandelse og gjorde det umulige i Rio". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  6. ^ "Ulrik Wilbek trækker sig som håndboldchef efter uro". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  7. ^ https://kommune.viborg.dk/Politik/Byraad-og-udvalg/Byraadet/Fakta-om-byraadsmedlemmer/Ulrik-Wilbek
  8. ^ https://www.bt.dk/politik/wilbek-har-sat-sig-til-rette-i-borgmesterstolen-saadan-er-mit-nye-liv