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Wie gets 200th win as Wibee’s head coach

He only thought about victory, and strategy seems to have worked
Dec 21,2019
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After picking up his 200th win, the Asan Woori Bank Wibee head coach Wie Sung-woo hopes to lead his club to another regular season victory this year. [ASAN WOORI BANK WIBEE]
After picking up his 200th career win with the club, Asan Woori Bank Wibee head coach Wie Sung-woo is now focused on leading his team to the regular season victory.

By picking up a 76-72 victory against the Bucheon KEB Hana Bank on Wednesday, Wibee is now tied for the lead with the Cheongju KB Stars.

A win on Wednesday allowed Wie to become the first-ever head coach in the Women’s Korean Basketball League (WKBL) to pick up his 200th win. Wie has 200 wins and 50 losses with the Wibee. Before Wie achieved his record, Im Dal-sik, the former head coach of the Incheon Shinhan Bank S-Birds, held the record at 199 wins.

This win was also an important one for the Wibee, as it allowed the club to tie for the lead in the regular season, standing at 10 wins and two losses.

“After the match, our players held a surprise party for me,” Wie said. “They got a cake and a small basketball made with pure gold. I was a little shy about it because this wasn’t my achievement. It’s all thanks to the players; they played well.”

Wie’s achievement in the WKBL is quite a surprise, as he was a sixth man back when he played as a professional basketball player. He was far from being a star, with an average playing time of 13 minutes and 11 seconds a game and an average of 3.4 points a game.

He was never a notable player and never got to sign a record-breaking deal. However, when it comes to practice, he was one of the hardest working players in the league.

“I didn’t play for the top school back in college and wasn’t a star,” Wie said. “But every day, I practiced like it’s a real match and worked on reading the flow of the match from the bench. I just tried my best in winning the match in front of me. Perhaps, this is the reason why I won this many games.”

Wie first got appointed as Wibee’s head coach for the 2012-13 season, and he’s been the toughest coach for the players. Every day, he yelled and didn’t allow even a small mistake. Although the players found his training tough, thanks to his tough training, the Wibee, ranked last in the season before Wie got appointed, ended up winning the regular season and the championship series. Since the 2012-13 season, Wibee rose as the most dominant team in the WKBL. The team won the regular season and the championship title for six straight seasons, until the 2017-18 season.

Wie has been making history with the Wibee. In the 2014-15 season, he achieved the longest winning streak since the season opener, at 16 games, the most number of championship wins, at six from 2012 to 2018, and set the highest winning percentage, 94.3 percent, in the 2016-17 season.

“I only thought about winning,” Wie said. “When I first joined the Wibee eight years ago, I only thought if I’ll ever get to achieve all these.”

Although he’s won 200 games with the Wibee, Wie said the most memorable win was his debut game as the club’s head coach.

“The first to the fourth quarter of that match is still vivid, like it was yesterday,” Wie said. “I only thought about winning. I was so nervous that I couldn’t switch any of the players throughout the game. Since I didn’t have any experience, I lost so much weight and couldn’t eat. Midway through the season, I had to stop at the hospital and just got back to the bench, like nothing happened.”

Now that Wibee recovered its lead in the WKBL, Wie has set his sights on regaining the club’s title. In the WKBL, when a team wins the championship title, there’s a tradition where players step on their head coach, but last year, Wie had to skip that as the Wibee failed to advance to the championship final, for the first time in seven years.

“It’s amazing to reach 200 wins as a head coach,” Wie said. “But it’ll make me happier if I get stepped on by the players, once again, after winning. As a challenger, we don’t have any pressure. We’ll compete against KB until the end and try to win.”

BY PIH JU-YOUNG [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]