Interim head coach of K-League's Jeonbuk quits after one season
Lee Heung-sil, the interim head coach for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in South Korea's top football league, has resigned from his post after one season, the club announced on Wednesday.
"Lee told us he would step down and the club decided to accept his resignation offer," the K-League team said in a statement.
Lee led the team, based in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, to second place in the 16-team K-League in 2012 with 22 wins, nine losses and 13 draws. Though they led the competition with 82 goals scored, Jeonbuk finished 17 points behind the champion, FC Seoul.
Lee, a former assistant for Jeonbuk, took over the club in December last year, when incumbent Choi Kang-hee was named the head coach of the South Korean national team.
Upon taking the reins of the national squad, Choi declared he will return to Jeonbuk in June next year, after the end of the Asian qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
According to a Jeonbuk official, Lee, by resigning, wanted to make way for Choi to return next year.
"We as a club recognized Lee's leadership and coaching abilities, and tried to persuade him to stay," the official explained. "Lee Chul-kuen, our general manager, also spoke to him in our last meeting Sunday, but Lee Heung-sil was adamant."
Jeonbuk said Cho Sung-hwan, the senior assistant coach, will act as the interim head coach until Choi's return.
Lee, a former MVP and a Rookie of the Year during his eight-year K-League playing career, joined Jeonbuk in 2005 as the senior assistant beside Choi. With Choi and Lee on the bench, Jeonbuk won the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League in 2006 and the K-League championship in 2009 and 2011.
In 2012, Jeonbuk got off to a slow start and was knocked out of the group stage at the AFC Champions League. The club turned things around in midseason and put together an eight-game winning streak, the longest by any K-League team this year, to climb to second place. (Yonhap)