KT Wiz head coach Lee Kang-chul.
Before the season even started, he suffered a major setback as a national team coach, and after the start of the season, he fell to the
bottom of the standings as his main players fell out of line. It seemed that the ‘steel magic’ was not working. This is the story of KT Wiz head coach Lee Kang-chul.
Even he said, “It’s going to be tough this year.” But then the magic happened again, and Lee was able to finish the regular season with a smile on his face.
On the 11th, KT announced that it had signed Lee Kang-cheol to a three-year contract through 2026 for a total of 2.4 billion won
($600,000 down payment and $600,000 annual salary). This is the highest contract for an active manager, surpassing SSG
Landers coach Kim Won-hyung’s three-year total of 2.2 billion won.
Lee’s season has not been easy. Before the season, he led the national team at the World Baseball Classic (WBC), where they were
eliminated in the first round with back-to-back losses to Australia and Japan. Due to the poor results, there were many voices
calling for the manager’s responsibility, including player selection and playing time.
Lee Kang-chul at the WBC this March.
To make matters worse, things didn’t look good for KT after the start of the season. Pitchers such as Kim Min-soo and Joo Kwon,
who had been touted as must-win pitchers, and key hitters such as Hwang Jae-gyun and Choi Jae-dae suffered a series of injuries.
By the start of June, KT was at the bottom of the standings. A turnaround seemed unlikely.
But that’s when KT’s “magic” began. In June, one by one, the injured players began to return and the team began to stabilize as
substitute outside hitter William Cuevas took over the starting spot.
June 15-8 (0.652), July 13-6 (0.684), August 19-4 (0.826). With an unbelievable 47-18 (0.723) over the three-month period, KT
quickly rose to the top of the standings. They went from last place to second place and within striking distance of the pack leaders, the LG Twins.
Although they faltered a bit in September and failed to catch up to the leaders, it was a remarkable turnaround for a team that
started June in last place to punch their ticket to the playoffs.
A three-month run of better than a 7% winning percentage could not have been accomplished by just a few players. Moreover,
considering that the team was without its main batsman Kang Baek-ho, “homegrown ace” Choi Min-joon, and fifth starter Uhm
Sang-baek due to injuries, it can only be said that the entire team, led by head coach Lee Kang-chul, was strong.
Director Lee Kang-chul.
“The players didn’t give up easily, and I wasn’t good at running a fast-paced offense,” Lee said, adding, “I think the cohesion and
self-esteem were embedded by experiencing the postseason several times.”
And KT responded to the coach. KT was the first of the 10 teams to finish their regular season schedule, and the next day they
gave him the “gift” of a new contract. Lee is now guaranteed another three years, until 2026.
Lee took the helm in 2019 and led KT to its first postseason appearance in 2020 and the franchise’s first overall title in 2021. Last
year’s semi-playoffs were also a big part of KT’s success as an ’emerging powerhouse’.
Having finalized his third contract ahead of ‘fall baseball,’ Lee now has his sights set on the postseason. KT is looking forward to
another ‘magic’ season, starting in last place and dominating the Korean Series. 카지노사이트존