The 55-year-old, who was head coach at Hamburg last season, moves into his first directorial position at the club he had previously coached between 2009 and 2012.
Speculation over Hecking taking the role has been abound for a couple of weeks, with reports that an agreement had already been reached last week proving premature. Others, including Osnabrück’s Benjamin Schmedes, had also been link with either this role or that of sporting director.
The role of Sportvorstand – translated as ‘sporting CEO’ by Transfermarkt – is distinct from that of Sportdirektor. Unlike Palikuca, Hecking wishes to install a sporting director to operate below him, with suggestions that this was the role considered for Schmedes, who has now committed to seeing out his contract at Osnabrück.
Finding a new head coach, to replace Jens Keller (and interim Michael Wiesinger) will likely be a higher priority. Markus Weinzierl and Dimitrios Grammozis are the current front-runners according to Nordbayern on Monday. Marek Mintal remains in the frame as well.
The role is a very new one for Hecking, regarded as one of Germany’s most respected coaches for his work with Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach, although his failure to lead Hamburg back to the Bundesliga last season was a rare failing in his career. Nevertheless, the new responsibilities pose a new challenge.
“I am very much looking forward to the new challenge at 1. FC Nürnberg,” explained Hecking in the club’s announcement of his appointment. “I will bring in all of the experience that I have gained in 30 years as a player and coach in the Bundesliga and will move forward in the future, so that the club can experience better times.”
Supervisory board chairman Dr. Thomas Grethlein added that the club are “delighted to have appointed such a renowned and highly respected football professional” in Hecking, and he is “convinced” that the club have appointed the right man. “Dieter Hecking has a huge network in football, he is a meticulous worker and he knows the club inside out,” he added.
Hecking confirmed later at a press conference that is focus is now on finding “a suitable training,” but they may not necessarily be in place for the resumption of training on Sunday. He made it clear though they “we have a lot work to do” if the club are to be competitive again next season.
He also confirmed there is no exit clause in his contract, like the one that allowed him to leave for Wolfsburg in his time as coach.