Nov 17 2015 - 8:28 pm

TSM unveils new coaching staff featuring a head coach with a sports background

One of North America's most successful teams introduced a new look coaching staff ahead of the 2016 League of Legends season today
Dot Esports

One of North America's most successful teams introduced a new look coaching staff ahead of the 2016 League of Legends season today.

Like their rivals Counter Logic Gaming, who won their first ever League Championship Series (LCS) title in the Summer in part due to their coaching infrastructure, Team SoloMid has opted to pull a head coach from the ranks of traditional sports and not esports.

The new head coach is KC Woods, 26, a man with more experience in basketball and baseball than in an esports server. Woods played basketball and baseball at a “nationally ranked” level, competing in baseball at Pepperdine University before an injury sidelined him. He decided that he wanted to continue in sports, so he became a personal pitching coach, helping players succeed at many levels.

“A lot of people believe that coaching is very theoretical, that you can just learn it from a book, but you actually have to really do it to understand it, what works for you and your personality,” he explained in the video reveal. Woods already has that experience and believes it will translate to esports.

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“My job is not to teach the team play League of Legends,” Woods said. “I’m personally not very good at the game,” he said. Instead he’s going to teach them how to practice, how to be a team, and how to build a work “environment,” “ethic,” and “attitude.”

Joining him in a key coaching position is Josh “Jarge” Smith, 26, who will serve as the strategic coach. That mimics the setup of Counter Logic Gaming last season, which used a head coach with a sports background in Chris Ehrenreich to manage the team while a strategic coach, Tony “Zikzlol” Gray, handled in-game matters.

Smith comes with impressive pedigree after spending a year serving under Fnatic head coach Luis “Deilor” Sevilla, helping the European powerhouse to one of the most successful years in Western League of Legends history.“I got to see from the inside how a successful structure works, and that’s something I’m definitely looking to bring to TSM,” Smith said.

He plans to bring many of the techniques and structure he learned from Sevilla to Team SoloMid, mimicing what’s already been proven to be a successful setup for a team in League of Legends.

“For me, I think that it’s going to be a huge advantage that this is one of the most talented rosters ever assembled,” he continued. “Each player on the team has either been a star player or a clear standout as one of the better players on their team. It’s really exciting that all these players have been put together and given to me to mold into one unit.”

The new staff comes in after a shaky season for Team SoloMid’s previous coaching staff. Head coach Yoonsub “Locodoco” Choi came under fire for the team’s poor preparation ahead of events like the Midseason Invitational and IEM San Jose, eventually leading to team owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh stepping in and handling most of the duties. But that left little time for Dinh to manage the franchise.

“It was really hard for me to trust our existing coaching staff with managing the team,” Dinh said. With a fresh staff, Dinh believes he can focus more on running the business side of the team.

“When we started looking for coaches this year, it was really important we found someone mature that was really logical and that had a lot of patience, and had a little knowledge around the game but not so much,” Dinh said. “Because I feel like the players have a really good understanding of the game already, but the problem is they have problems communicating effectively and learning effectively. And so having a wiser and older person there that is patient can really help smooth that process.”

It’s certainly a time of upheaval for Team SoloMid. After a two-year stint where the team won most of the domestic championships available, they’re entering 2016 with only one returning member in the lineup or coaching staff, Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg. But it’s easy to see why such massive changes were made and Team SoloMid will surely continue to be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.

Screengrab via SoloMidDOTNet/YouTube

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