“It would be great to be remembered as the guy who always gave it his all on the field. I want to be a coach who helps players and listens to their stories.”
NC Dinos Playing Coach Kwon Jung-woong (30), who took off his uniform, reflected on his playing career and shared his future ambitions as a coach.
Kwon was a right-handed catcher who was drafted by the Samsung Lions with the 55th overall pick in the second round in 2015. He has played for the NC since the 2022 season, batting .200 (22-for-110) with six home runs and 11 RBIs in 75 professional games.
Kwon, who played in the Futures (second team) league before the start of the season, chose to retire at the beginning of the season and has been serving as a playing coach since May. In a recent phone interview with a reporter, Coach Kwon said, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed,” about his relatively early retirement from active play, “but NC evaluated me well and gave me a new opportunity. It’s a little premature, but I thought it would be advantageous to start my coaching career a little earlier, so I made the decision.”
Coach Kwon continued, “I was released from Samsung last year, which made me think about various things. I thought that I needed to have a good reason to extend my active service, but I thought a lot about how competitive I would be considering the situation of other teams,” he said, adding, “Even if I continued to play, I wondered if I would be able to make a dramatic improvement in terms of situation and technique.”
“In a way, it’s an excuse,” he continued, “but the theme of teams these days is very much focused on development. There are a lot of opportunities for younger players. I think that was part of the reason for my decision to retire.”
“Probably the day I made my debut in the first team and hit my first home run,” Kwon said. Kwon was referring to April 23, 2017, when the then-Samsung player hit a 124-kilometer slider from opposing starter Eric Hacker over the left field fence for a 110-meter solo arch with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu.
During his playing days, Kwon may not have been the star of the show, but his sincerity and communication skills continued to spread a positive influence on the team. NC had originally planned to hold a retirement game for him and coach Kim Gun-tae on the 16th against Masan Futures Commerce, but it was canceled due to rain. Instead, they will be honored in an exchange game against the SoftBank Hawks (Japan) at Masan Baseball Stadium on the 24th.
Coach Kwon Jung-woong said, “Even when I was released last year, I was so grateful that the NC reached out to me. I was also grateful while playing this year. I am very grateful to the NC for opening the way for me to become a coach,” he said.
NC Futures Team hitting coach Cho Young-hoon and battery coach Yoon Soo-kang have been a great help to Kwon, who is just starting out as a coach. “We have a training group that is not participating in the Futures Team games but is training separately, and I am currently in charge of the hitting and battery sections of the training group,” he said. “I am learning a lot from Coach Cho Young-hoon and Coach Yoon Soo-kang because I am just starting out. Mental coach Choi Gun-young and reserve hitting and fielding coach Son Yong-seok also helped me a lot, so I’m focusing on the third-team hitters.”
“I’m not in a position to say that yet. I’m not in a position to say that yet.” “I’m probably looking at Park Sung-jae and Shin Hae-seok because I was a catcher in my active career. As for hitting, I’m still watching a lot of players and getting to know them. In terms of hitting, it’s hard to pinpoint someone,” he said with a wry smile.
Coach Kwon, who played for Samsung and the NC, has a strong fan base. The news of his retirement has been met with disappointment by many fans.
“I wasn’t a player who was in the spotlight a lot, but I want to say that I was very grateful that you remembered me and supported me a lot,” he said. “I’m taking a step back from playing, but I’m going to a place where I can help train and take care of players who are loved by fans, so I think it’s a way to repay the fans by doing my best to make sure that you can see a lot of good players.” “I’ll do my best to do my job,” he said.안전놀이터
Coach Kwon continued, “I always had the mindset of doing my best in training and in games. I would be very grateful if you remember me as a player who always tried his best on the baseball field.” He bowed to the fans.
Finally, Coach Kwon shared his aspirations as a coach. His dream is to be a “coach like an older brother” who actively helps players and listens to their stories based on his own experiences.
“I think about helping the players a lot. I definitely had my own difficulties and difficult situations when I was a player, and I want to actively help them in that regard. I also want to be a coach who listens to many stories in various areas.” Coach Kwon Jung-woong said.