KIA Tigers is a well-known club in the KBO League. KIA, whose team name changed after starting with Haitai Tigers in 1982 as its first pro league player and changing its parent company in 2001, has won the Korean Series as many as 11 times. This is the largest number of times among the 10 teams. It is also a remarkable record that the team has never won the runner-up prize while winning 11 titles.
Surprisingly, however, Tigers coach Lee Myung-bak was not doing very well in his final years. Kia has produced a total of 10 coaches (excluding acting coaches) including the Haitai era, and only one of them resigned after completing his contract period.
One is “Masterpiece” Kim Eung-yong (85). Kim served as the Tigers’ head coach for as many as 18 seasons from 1983 to 2000. He led the team to nine Korean Series championships during this period.
After finishing the 2000 season, Kim was scouted by the Samsung Lions in 2001 and left the team. Haitai had no choice but to watch his transfer due to financial difficulties at the time.
Except for Kim Eung-yong, who spent nearly half of his 42 years in charge, the remaining nine coaches left the baton without completing the contract period.
The late Tigers coach Kim Dong-yup left the team after playing only 13 games in the first year of his team’s opening. He was dismissed from his position as a general manager less than a month after the team’s opening due to ill-advised stint with the coaching staff.
After the second coach Kim Eung-yong’s long-term rule, all those in charge of the team did not end well.
Kim Eung-yong joined the “Tigers” team. However, Kim Sung-han (2001-2004), Yoo Nam-ho (2004-2005), and Seo Jeong-hwan (2005-2007) all failed to fulfill their contracts.
Former manager Cho Bum-hyun, who led KIA to its 10th championship. /News1 DB ⓒNews1 Reporter Kim Min-ji
Among them, manager Kim Sung-han selected a team whose parent company changed from Haitai to KIA, and posted a winning rate of more than 60 percent for two consecutive years from 2002 to 2003. However, he failed to advance to the Korean Series due to “upsets” in the postseason even after ranking second in the regular season for two consecutive years, and was dismissed in 2004 when his performance in the regular season fell.라바카지노
Cho Bum-hyun, who was then appointed, had no contact with the Tigers. Cho has been at the helm since 2008 and led Kia to its 10th championship in 2009 over the SK Wyverns led by Kim Sung-keun.
Glory did not last long, however. In 2010, his win rate fell below 50 percent, failing to participate in the postseason, and only ranked fourth in 2011. As Kia fans ranted, Cho put down the baton himself.
It was Sun Dong-yeol, the Tigers’ symbol, who took the helm. As Sun already led Samsung to two victories, expectations were high for Sun, who was proven to be ‘tiger pure blood’ and capable.
However, expectations soon turned into disappointment. Kia led by Sun failed to advance to the post season for three consecutive years from 2012 to 2014, ranking eighth among the nine teams in 2013 and 2014.
Nevertheless, KIA continued its confidence by giving Sun a two-year contract renewal, but he stepped down on his own after being under heavy fire from public opinion.
Kim Ki-tae has taken the helm since then. Kim, who displayed his unique “brotherly leadership,” won a dramatic victory in 2017, the last year of his term, and successfully renewed his three-year contract.
However, the following year, in 2018, his performance was on the decline again, sending shockwaves throughout the world. In 2019, he voluntarily resigned from his position due to problems such as recruitment of players and excessive use of players, which led to the worst public opinion.
KIA, which left manager Kim Ki-tae, appointed Matt Williams, the first foreign head coach in the club’s history, in 2020, but he was also replaced with one year left in his term.
And the head coach who led KIA from 2022 was Kim Jong-kook. It is a sharp change from ‘foreign’ to ‘tiger pure blood’ again, and this time, it was the worst case regardless of performance.
Kim was found to have been involved in a bribery scandal, just like Jang Jeong-seok, a former general manager who left the team a year ago due to controversy over “back money.” Kim is being investigated by prosecutors on charges of malpractice and other charges.
Since no manager left the team at least due to non-baseball problems before, the case of manager Kim Jong-kook will remain a big flaw in Tigers history.
Notably, it is the first time in KBO league history that a manager stepped down in January just before the spring camp. KIA, which was expected to be the “champion candidate” in the 2024 season, is conducting its training in an atmosphere of restlessness as its head disappears.
Kia plans to appoint a new coach as soon as possible to select a new team and start a new season. It aims to appoint a new coach sometime in February, before the end of the spring camp.
The final candidates have been selected amid discussions by the team’s leaders, including Shim Jae-hak, the head of the team. As a result, interviews with candidate coaches are expected to take place soon.
The Tigers’ coach, who had always had a bad end in spite of his title as a prestigious club. Will KIA be able to face the worst-ever situation this time be the head coach to end its brutal tactics.