T1 have been a revolving door of LoL coaches since kkOma’s departure
With Bengi leaving T1 halfway through the Summer Split, fans have pointed out how the team has been cycling through head coaches ever since kkOma left the organization.
T1’s League of Legends squad is currently navigating one of the biggest crises in its history, with the team riding a woeful run of form amid star player Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok’s recovery from an arm injury.
On July 8, T1 announced the departure of head coach Bae ‘Bengi’ Seong-woong in a move that caught many fans off-guard. The 29-year-old, a three-time world champion with SK Telecom T1 during his playing career, resigned from his role shortly before the team’s LCK match against Gen.G, in which T1 once again produced a lethargic display.
Im ‘Tom’ Jae-hyeon has taken over as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, according to T1, though it’s unclear at this point whether the organization will be looking to add to its backroom staff, especially if the team qualifies for the World Championship.
And as Reddit user ‘Derk08’ pointed out, Tom is the sixth head coach to take charge of T1 since legendary coach Kim ‘kkOma’ Jeong-gyun left the organization at the end of 2019.
T1 head coaches since kkOma
- Kim ‘Kim’ Jung-su (November 2019-September 2020)
- Yang ‘Daeny’ Dae-in (November 2020-July 2021)
- Son ‘Stardust’ Seok-hee (July 2021-November 2021)
- Choi ‘Polt’ Seong-hun (December 2021-September 2022)
- Bae ‘Bengi’ Seong-woong (September 2022-July 2023)
- Im ‘Tom’ Jae-hyeon (July 2023-??)
During his time in charge of SK Telecom T1, kkOma led the team to ten LCK titles, three World Championship trophies and two Mid-Season Invitational crowns. He left the organization at the end of the 2019 season to continue his coaching career in the LPL with ViCi Gaming.
The enormous void that kkOma’s departure created was filled by Kim ‘Kim’ Jung-su, who had won Worlds 2018 with Invictus Gaming. He left T1 after less than a year following the team’s failure to qualify for Worlds 2020.
Yang ‘Daeny’ Dae-in, Kim’s replacement, was let go five weeks into the 2021 LCK Summer Split, with Son ‘Stardust’ Seok-hee leaving at the end of the season after four months as interim head coach.
T1 General Manager Choi ‘Polt’ Seong-hun transitioned into a head coach position in December 2021 and notably led the team to a perfect 18-0 Spring Split. But shortly before Worlds, he was moved back to his old role, with Bengi taking over as interim head coach.
Coaching instability has become the norm at T1 ever since kkOma left as the organization continues the search for its fourth Worlds title.
Following last week’s defeats to DRX and Gen.G, the team has dropped down to fifth in the LCK Summer standings. Faker will not return before the July 21 match against Hanwha Life Esports, which means that he will miss at least the team’s next two bouts, with Nongshim RedForce (July 14) and Dplus (July 16).
T1’s shocking form during Faker’s absence has only reinforced the notion that the mid laner is the true coach of the team, which has looked lost without its star player’s shot-calling.
As for kkOma, after a disappointing spell with Vici Gaming, he led DAWMON Gaming to the grand final of Worlds 2021. He has been appointed as the head coach of South Korea’s League of Legends team for the 2022 Asian Games, where he will work with T1’s trio of Faker, Choi ‘Zeus’ Woo-je, and Ryu ‘Keria’ Min-seok.