After a disappointing season, which culminated with missing out on the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, the Korean esports organization announced Kim “Kim” Jung-su resigned as the T1 head coach. The news surfaced this Sunday, September 13th, on T1’s official website and social media accounts.
Humiliation Too Much to Handle
As the most successful LoL team in history, T1 was expected to represent once more the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) at the season’s culminating event and rarely doubted their chances to do so. However, after a somewhat disappointing run through the LCK 2020 Summer regular season, a premature exit from the LCK 2020 Summer playoffs, and a humiliating 0-3 loss to Gen.G in the Regional Finals, T1’s chances of pocketing a Worlds ticket turned to dust.
The disappointment after failing to secure a World’s ticket was immeasurable for both the players and the fans, but T1’s head coach Kim struggled the most to accept the reality of the situation. In the end, it seems like the embarrassment was too much for Kim to handle, and he eventually decided to resign as the head coach of the team as reported this Sunday.
“Dear fans, following the results of the Worlds Qualifiers, Jung Su “KIM” Kim has decided to resign,” read the announcement on T1’s Twitter page.
“T1 respects his decision and has parted ways under a mutual agreement. We thank Kim for his commitment to the team this year and wish him the best in his future endeavours.”
Kim unable to Help T1 Reach Worlds
With his resignation, Kim ends his nine-month stint with T1, who he joined in December 2019 as a replacement for coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun. Before taking over as T1 head coach, Kim led a plethora of LoL teams from Korea, North America, and China, including Samsung Galaxy, Dignitas, Longzhu Gaming, Invictus Gaming, and DAMWON Gaming.
Kim began his coaching career in August 2014 with BIgfile Miracle before leaving for Quvic E-Sports, and in December 2015, joined Samsung Galaxy. In late 2016, Kim teamed up with Dignitas, who he led to a sixth-place finish in the NA League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Spring, before returning to Korea, where he helped Longzhu Gaming win LCK 2017 Summer and reach the quarter-finals of 2017 World Championship.
However, his most successful period as an LoL coach happened in 2018, when Kim took over a Chinese team Invictus Gaming, who he led to the summit of LoL professional scene by winning the 2018 World Championship. Despite his success with IG, Kim ended up leaving China for DAMWON Gaming. He achieved far less success, yet still succeeded in making his third consecutive Worlds appearance, albeit again saw his team fail to make it past the quarter-finals.
Even though Kim helped T1 finish in fourth place in LCK Summer regular season and win the LCK 2020 Spring Playoffs, this season marked Kim’s worst stint as a coach since he left Dignitas and the first time in three years Kim will not be making an appearance at the LoL World Championship.
KkOma’s Return Could Be on the Cards
With Kim’s departure, there is no denying T1 is set to make some massive changes to their squad, and while it’s still unclear what T1’s plans are for the off-season, there are speculations about a possible return of coach kkOma.
KkOma needs no special introduction for T1 and esports fans alike, considering he is not only one of the most iconic members of T1, but also the most successful LoL coach in history. KkOma joined T1 (then SK Telecom T1) as a coach in December 2012 and has remained with the Korean organization for nearly seven years. During this time, he helped build T1’s legacy and played an essential role in Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s development into the greatest esports player of all time.
Due to his importance to T1 organization throughout the years, kkOma’s decision to leave and join ViCi Gaming in November 2019 was a massive shock to the LoL community who were left wondering what the future holds in store for their favorite team. Nevertheless, there is a real possibility we could witness kkOma’s homecoming sometime soon.
After leaving T1, kkOma went to coach ViCi Gaming in the League of Legends Pro League (LPL); however, he failed to see any notable success. ViCi finished the spring split in ninth place with a 7-9 record and further disappointed in LPL 2020 Summer, which ended in 11th place with an 8-8 record.
Due to ViCi’s lack of success kkOma announced his departure from the team earlier on Wednesday, September 9th. That is quite an interesting timing that sparked a debate about his return to T1, considering Kim’s resignation was rumored since Thursday – a day after kkOma became a free agent.
Even though the legendary Korean LoL coach has yet to give any hints about his possible return to T1, it fair to say that kkOma’s homecoming does not seem too far-fetched. Having said that, kkOma has reportedly turned down a seven-figure deal to stay with T1 last year, so it remains to be seen whether he is ready to team up with Faker and co. once more.