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Kim Seong-geun: It’s About Honest Hard Work and Dedication

Kim Seong-geun: It’s About Honest Hard Work and Dedication

Posted October. 31, 2007 03:43,   


It was the first Korean Series championship title for manger Kim Seong-geun in 23 years of coaching professional teams. But this is just the beginning for him.

A day after coaching SK and ending the season with a championship, Kim was at the Dowon Baseball Stadium in Incheon to watch another practice session of SK’s second team. It was October 30, the day following the dramatic victory. Kim’s mental timetable was already set and running for next season’s challenge.

Kim is known to most baseball players, personnel, and fans alike, as a man with a one-track mind, dedicated only to baseball. It is this unshakable love of the game that enabled him to write a new page in Korean baseball history. We find out more about the man behind the drive.

“At First, I Regretted Joining This Team”-

Kim led SK to become the top team of the regular season and also led them to be crowned champions of this year’s Korean Series. But his first impression of the players and the team was far from how he perceives them today. He said, “When I first saw the players, the first thought that sprang to my mind was, ‘What am I doing here?!’ and ‘I just want to go home as soon as possible.’”

He added that the players were sorely lacking in fundamentals as well as basic etiquette. After watching the players’ first practice session, he was devastated. But soon he gathered himself and was determined to show them the right way of playing winning baseball.

“I Treat Them as Though They’re My Own Children”-

Kim is a strict disciplinarian who expects himself to lead his team like a father would raise his children. “I set the pace and they follow. I lead them the hard way, because that’s the only way one can learn to be ready to overcome any odds and become champions.”

Ironically, this father of three wasn’t as dedicated to his own children. He said, “I’ve never been there for my own children, not even for one of their graduations. I feel terribly sorry to them for my shortcomings.” He had a unique way of expressing his care and concern to those he deeply loves. For instance, during this season, he made a phone call to Yomiuri coach Kim Ki-tae and told him never to console or cheer up Lee Seung-yeop even if he is having the most difficult time of his career. He added that Lee must and will learn to overcome it himself. Regarding Kim Jae-hyeon, the standout player for this year’s Korean Series, he said, “I thought his career was over, but he did okay in the end.”

His hope for his “children” (players) was straightforward and simple. Coach Kim said, “I would be happy if one day, they can look back and say, ‘Our father (coach) was alright after all.’”

“I Am Driven by Fear”-

This is his 38th year as a baseball coach since he first started out in 1969 as the coach of the Masan Commercial High School team. He claims that he has a lot of fear of the game. What he fears most is losing his edge. Even as a coach, it is possible to be unable to maintain the level of intensity, commitment, and fear of losing games. He takes on every game as if it’s his last.

To him, baseball is a religion. He strives for nothing but baseball perfection and greatness. Upon returning to his quarters after a game, he immediately plans the roster for the next day’s game. If he can’t find the perfect lineup, he may go to sleep, but will bounce right back up to work on it in the middle of the night.

By winning the 2007 Korean Series, he finally proved his worth as a great coach.

Kim said, “It’s not about talent, it’s about honest hard work and dedication.”