Coach Lee signed a total of 2.4 billion won (600 million won in down payment and 600 million won in annual salary) for three years from next season to 2026. Coach Lee, who took the helm of KT in 2019, will lead KT for a total of eight years.
KT’s history is divided between before and after Lee. KT, which has grown young players by staying at the bottom under coach Cho Bum-hyun and Kim Jin-wook since its foundation, jumped to the top with coach Lee coming. KT, which fought against the NC Dinos for the first time in 2019, ranked sixth with 71 wins, 2 draws and 71 losses.
In 2020, I experienced fall baseball for the first time. He went straight to the playoffs in second place, not in the fifth round. KT, which ranked second in the regular season with 81 wins, 1 draw and 62 losses, was disappointed to be eliminated with 1 win and 3 losses in the playoffs against the Doosan Bears.
And in 2021, he tied for first place with the Samsung Lions with 76 wins, 9 draws and 59 losses. It played the first-place game in KBO League history, and went straight to the Korean Series with the regular league title with a dramatic 1-0 victory. And he defeated the Doosan Bears with four consecutive wins and won his first unified championship.
KT, which fell to last place last year amid a string of injuries to its main players, continued its fall baseball to fourth place in the second half due to its strides, and this year, it fell to last place for a long time due to injuries to more main players than last year, but eventually produced a “miracle” to rise to second place. Four consecutive years of postseason qualification.
KT couldn’t have missed manager Lee, who created a magical season every year, and renewed his contract with the best treatment of an active coach.
There were ups and downs.
In fact, KT had pushed for an early renewal after the end of last season. KT had already renewed an early contract with Lee after the 2020 season. KT signed a three-year contract with Lee in 2019 for a total of 1.2 billion won (300 million won in down payment and 300 million won in annual salary). However, after two years of contract, he made an early contract of 2 billion won (a down payment of 500 million won and an annual salary of 500 million won) for three years when he finished second in the regular league in the 2020 season.
And after winning the first season of the renewal and performing a miracle from last year’s last place to fourth place, KT pushed for another early renewal. KT, worried about the possibility of a flurry of offers from the batting team as coach Lee’s reputation grows, thought of renewing its contract early again so as not to be lost to other clubs.
This time, however, it was delayed day by day. The club’s intention to renew the contract was firm, but it was difficult to push ahead due to the group issue, which is the final decision maker.
However, Lee’s stock price has increased since the end of this season. Director Lee’s magic was tremendous. We put the last-place team up to second place. KT, which had serious injuries to its main players to the 1.5th division level, ranked last alone with eight wins, two draws and 17 losses on May 7. It took a month to escape. KT, which returned to a team that was evaluated as a “winner” before the season with the return of its missing main players, won 3-2 against the Lotte Giants on June 7 and won four consecutive games, bringing Hanwha down to 10th place alone.
Since then, KT, which has steadily accumulated wins with strong starters, won 5-4 against the Hanwha Eagles on August 19 and became the sole second place with 57 wins, 2 draws and 46 losses. Since then, he has been in trouble as injured players have occurred again, but he succeeded in second place until the end to complete the playoff.
Coach Lee, who communicates with the youngest player with a smile, always values the team’s camistry the most. Analysts say that it was possible to rise from last place to second place this season because everyone eventually did it with the mind of a “one team,” and coach Lee’s communication created a one-team.
Everyone knows that this season is the last season of Lee’s contract. The news of the renewal of KT’s contract with manager Lee was all over the place. However, the announcement was not made, and rumors circulated that “no way.” It is known that one club made an intention to coach Lee during the season. But director Lee politely declined. It was to keep his loyalty to KT.
And KT quickly announced the renewal of its contract with coach Lee, who finished the regular season in second place. The total amount was 2.4 billion won over three years, surpassing SSG coach Kim Won-hyung (total amount of 2.2 billion won over three years), who won wire-to-wire last year.