Beom-ho Lee, new manager of KIA Tigers.
The new head coach of the KIA Tigers, which was a topic of great interest in professional baseball, was Beom-ho Lee (43). He sought stability by choosing internal promotion instead of external recruitment.
KIA announced on the 13th, “We have appointed first-team hitting coach Beom-ho Lee as the team’s 11th manager.” The contract period is 2 years and the total contract amount is 900 million won (300 million won down payment, 300 million won annual salary).
New coach Beom-ho Lee was the best third baseman in the KBO League during his active career.
He graduated from Daegu High School and began his professional career by joining the Hanwha Eagles in 2000. He was selected as a member of the national team at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2006 and 2009, and moved to the Softbank Hawks of the Japanese professional baseball team in 2011, and signed a free agent contract with KIA the following year.
After establishing himself as the team’s unwavering starting third baseman, he participated in the team’s combined championship in 2017 and wore the KIA uniform until he retired from active duty in 2019. KIA also held a grand retirement ceremony for him, who had been with him for the last nine years.
After completing his active career, coach Lee received coaching training at Softbank Hawks of the Japanese professional baseball team and the Philadelphia Phillies of the Major League Baseball, and served as the manager of the KIA 2nd team in 2021, and moved to the position of first team hitting coach in 2022 and 2023.
He was scheduled to take on the role of batting coach this year as well, but the situation changed drastically as an unexpected factor occurred, such as the dismissal of coach Kim Jong-guk.
KIA, which announced the termination of its contract with former coach Kim on the 29th of last month, immediately began the process of selecting a new coach. Since the team had already entered spring camp, we had to calm the mood with a quick greeting.
KIA selected the final candidates ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, and after continuing discussions despite giving up the holiday, the task of appointing a director was completed.
Considering the strength of the team considered a candidate for the championship, an external person with first-team managerial experience was also mentioned as a strong candidate, but the final choice was ‘internal promotion’.
During his time as coach, he was evaluated as leading young players with gentle leadership. Having been with KIA for 9 years as a player and 3 years as a coach, having a good understanding of the team was also considered an advantage.
KIA said, “He has a high overall understanding of the team, including experience as a futures coach and first-team batting coach within the team,” and added, “He is the best person to quickly establish the current team atmosphere with leadership and excellent communication skills that can encompass the players.” “I decided to appoint him,” he said.
Coach Beom-ho Lee was named the KBO League’s first ‘head coach born in the 1980s’. Currently, the youngest coaches in the KBO League are Doosan Bears coach Lee Seung-yeop and Samsung Lions coach Park Jin-man, both born in 1976.
In professional baseball, where the age of coaches was older than other sports such as professional soccer, professional volleyball, and professional basketball, this new coach became the first team commander in his early to mid-40s.
Coach Lee said, “I am worried about suddenly taking over as coach in a difficult situation for the team, but I will build the team step by step with a heavy sense of responsibility.” “I will become a leader who sets the stage,” he said.
He continued, “I know very well what the club and fans expect from me. “As the KIA Tigers coach, not a novice coach, I will definitely bring the team to the top within the given term,” he added. 섯다