Director Hillman’s Suite Room

When you open the door and enter, you see a spacious living room. The view from the higher floors is also good. The family’s eyes widen. “Dad, are you staying here?” The child is already excited. It is a hotel suite. Dad shrugs his shoulders. “Oh, yes. The bishop gave us this room to make our family comfortable.”

On a hot summer day in 2018, field worker A from the SK Wyverns baseball team led the family into a spacious room. Family A stays for two days at a luxury hotel in downtown Seoul where the air-conditioning blows out. A, who lived on a season-by-season baseball team, not caring about children’s vacations or family congratulations and condolences, let alone summer vacations. Thank you so much for allowing my family to use it. My family likes it more and is proud of it.”

Trey Hillman was the SK manager’s idea at the time. “I just need a regular room. When the players, staff and their families come to visit, please give me my room so they can be comfortable together.”

So, the Wyverns’ suite assignment principles were different from other teams. Managers of professional baseball teams are provided with hotel suites during away games. Airplane seats are also provided with business class, and as a team leader, you are treated with the proper courtesy and treatment. Hillman, however, gives his room to others. He chooses the happiness of his players and staff. He showed his sincerity and what would he have gotten. He was respectful and devoted. 

When I was working on a team, I was curious to see what kind of leadership the coaches of other teams exhibited. There is no correct answer to leadership, and everyone has a different style. So I look up the team’s training methods, conversation styles, interview wording, and more. Arrive in advance and check the opponent team’s training time. I got a hint from coach Kim Kyung-moon, whom I served, analyzing the opposing team.

The coach’s words and actions are evidence that shows not only the coach’s personal leadership, but also whether the coach’s partner, the coaching staff, and the team’s breathing are well matched. It soon becomes apparent whether the coach and the front desk truly understand and coordinate what the manager is thinking and saying. Otherwise, it will go off-beat and eventually run aground. Maybe it’s just baseball? It’s like the world. Anyway, it is the capacity of the director to bring out such a consensus. I felt the unity of SK Baseball at the time from A, who was proud of telling me the story of the suite room.

The reason I brought up the story of coach Hillman again was because I had a lot of thoughts while watching Lotte Baseball, which was noisy due to the recent coaching staff transfer. Lotte Baseball also had the experience of a great foreign manager named Royster, but his ‘no fear’ baseball was incomplete, unable to cross the front wall. Hillman’s case is a good leadership textbook to study how he implemented his philosophy under the different cultures and baseball traditions of Korea and the United States. 

He has coached professional baseball in Korea, the United States and Japan, and reached the top in both Korea and Japan. He is a very successful director. Winning the team in 2 years in Korea and creating many stories that lead to a strong team. A scene where a pitcher who is on the finish line and an infielder who made a decisive error are hugged tightly. Pitcher Park Jong-hoon said in an interview at the time of the championship, “Coach Hillman was the first to tell me about my inner circumstances. He is like a father who listened to a lot about the player.” Hillman, a devout Christian, explains that ‘coaching = love’ before resourcefulness. Head coach Hillman also engages in discussions with the upper management of the front desk over coach management. This story was not known to the outside world. I think it was possible because the support and trust of a large number of members became a story for his information and judgment to control discipline, spreading and accumulating throughout the internal organization. 

Hillman’s story has several messages. Among them, what I would like to say to foreign directors who experience different cultures, as well as to the people and teams working with them, is that the position should not be simply a manager. The manager himself has to win the hearts of the players, coaches and front desk. Then he should help. Who is your story written for?메이저놀이터

Certified coach Kim Jong-moon Kim Jong-moon, a certified coach of the Korea Coaches Association

, was a reporter for the JoongAng Ilbo and worked as a front desk for the NC Dinos baseball team from 2011 to 2021. At the end of 2018, he took over as the captain of the ‘last-place’ team and led it to the first championship team two years later. He is currently a certified coach of the Korea Coach Association (KPC).

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