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Lotte's 'one-club man' Park Jong-yoon (41) begins the second chapter of his baseball career in the baseball wasteland of Gimcheon.
Park Jong-yoon (former Lotte), who played for Lotte for 17 years, was selected as the first coach of Gimcheon University, which was founded in September of last year. Coach Park recruited his close friends Kwon Hyuk (formerly Samsung) as a pitching coach and Choi Jun-seok (formerly Doosan) as an instructor and will participate in the 2024 U-League College Baseball Championship with 25 new members from all over the country.
These three people are seniors and juniors at Pohang Steel High School (currently Pohang Steel High School) and are ‘Yeongilman Friends’. These people, who have never won a championship trophy in high school, are dreaming of winning the national championship in their first season with a new amateur team led by their coaches.
Gimcheon is called the mecca of local sports, with prestigious teams in each sport, such as the Gimcheon Sangmu professional soccer team, the Road Corporation professional volleyball team, and the Gimcheon City Hall badminton team, based on the sports complex. However, it is a place that has no connection to baseball. Then, following the founding of the first baseball team and the completion of the baseball stadium, baseball fever has been burning recently with the production of a professional baseball player from Gimcheon (NC Im Sang-hyeon) in the 2024 KBO rookie draft.
Coach Park Jong-yoon pledged, “Based on this good news, I will try to create a baseball boom in Gimcheon.” One of the two baseball fields scheduled to be completed at the end of November within Gimcheon Shinjin Neighborhood Park will be used by the Gimcheon University baseball team. Coach Park said, "In the future, Gimcheon Baseball Stadium will become the cornerstone of being reborn as the center of Ama Baseball competitions by taking advantage of Gimcheon's geographical advantage of being located in the center of Korea." “It will be this,” he emphasized.
Regarding the concerns around him that he had no coaching experience after retiring as a professional, he confessed, "Everyone has a first time," and "I came this far by preparing and studying a lot and seeking advice from senior baseball players to reduce trial and error."
Coach Park also said, “Some of the universities that recently announced the creation of a baseball team are experiencing limitations in the supply of players and there are teams that disappear without a sound, but the Gimcheon University baseball team prepares a dedicated stadium, indoor practice field, dormitory, and gym during the player supply period, so that the players can play baseball.” He expressed confidence, saying, “We have built an environment where we can focus only on this.”
Saturday, November 4, 2023