Go to contents

Unlucky Coach’s Star Shines at Last

Posted October. 18, 2004 23:21,   


“I do not want to be called ‘the unlucky one’ anymore.”

A minor league-leading coach has become the coach of the national basketball team for the first time.

Im Dal-shik (40), manager of the men’s basketball team of Chosun University, is that coach. He has been appointed coach of the national basketball team for the first Stankovich Cup tournament to be held in Taipei, Taiwan next month. Kim Choon-soo, manager of the national team, said, “Shouldn’t we appoint whoever is a good leader regardless of where he came from?”

“I am so honored. I have forgotten all memories of hardship,” said Im.

Im’s life on the basketball court has not been smooth. When he joined the Hyundai team, he was a star guard from the elite Whimoon High School and Korea University (class of 1983) basketball programs.

However, in 1989, he was punished with a one-year ban after engaging in a brawl with Hur Jae of the Kia team during the finals of the Basketball Festival that year. He returned to the court again after many hardships, but became skeptical of the sport and retired in 1992, after which he concentrated on golf for eight years, earning a semi-pro certificate.

Im, who had stayed away from the court, soon missed the world of basketball, however, and became manger of the Chosun University team in July 2001. Chosun University had been one of the league’s bottom teams, but under Im’s leadership, the team became the top minor league team at last year’s Basketball Festival. This year, the team even won a few games against major league teams and reached the final at the recent National Sports Festival, eventually losing to Yonsei University, but earning a meaningful second place.

The Collegiate Basketball Association is planning to promote Chosun University to the major league next season. This is because although the team is currently having a hard time scouting as a member of the minor league, it already has the power to face major league teams due to the hard training it is undergoing by spending more than 100 days a year playing on tours.

Im said, “I hope many minor league players, who train under difficult conditions, get the chance to run with the national team and join pro teams,” and added, “I want to help young players play ambitiously.”

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com