Former KT Wiz head of development Lee Sung-yong has been named the new head coach of SSG Landers.
SSG appointed Lee as its ninth head coach on July 17. Lee signed a two-year contract for a total of 900 million won, including 300 million won in signing bonus and 300 million won in annual salary.
Over the years, several people, including LG Twins hitting coach Lee Ho-joon, have been in and out of the SSG managerial ranks.
SSG said it started the search for a new manager with the goal of transforming its operating paradigm for sustainable development, and selected new candidates who can actively execute this under the banner of communicative leadership and team remodeling.
SSG then set up evaluation criteria by extracting essential competencies and virtues for each field, and said it selected Lee after an in-depth interview to discuss the club’s direction and baseball values.
Lee was the head coach of KT from 2019 to 2022. He turned around the perennial last-place team and helped them win their first Korean Series title in 2021.
In particular, he is credited with filling the team’s weaknesses through trades. On December 4, 2020, he acquired Shin Bong-ki and Park Si-young from the Lotte Giants in exchange for Choi Gun and a 2022 third-round rookie pick. Shin filled the lack of infield depth, while Park was a key contributor in the winning season.
On July 31 of the same year, they traded Lee Kang-jun to Lotte for Oh Yoon-seok and Kim Jun-tae. Oh Yoon-seok became the starting second baseman, while Kim Jun-tae eased KT’s backup catcher worries.
In 2022, he showed his savvy again by signing Park Byung-ho for three years and 3 billion won. Park Byung-ho became a home run king with KT, hitting 35 home runs.
Lee moved into the role of Head of Development on February 8, 2022, and left the team after the 2023 season.
SSG said it believes Lee has a “servant leadership style” that enables the coaching staff and individual players to maximize their potential based on open communication and mutual respect, and that he has a player-centered mindset and strong trusting relationships that enable him to lead a unified team.
Lee has been known as a communicative leader since his days as KT’s hitting coach, and he was also the perennial captain of the Hyundai Unicorns, a team that boasted “big brother leadership” from his playing days.
Lee said, “I am honored to be appointed as the head coach of the SSG Landers and sincerely thank the club for the opportunity. Above all, I am given a huge task of performance and development, so I will take responsibility and work with the coaching staff, players, and front office to build a strong team that can achieve good results every year,” said Lee.
“I am excited to be back in Incheon, and I will do my best to fulfill my duties with the goal of restructuring the team and growing our prospects so that we can meet the expectations of our fans.”