Kingzone DragonX have released their head coach Kang “Hirai” Dong-hoon after the team’s poor performance in the Summer Split. The team cited Hirai’s poor record to qualify Kingzone for Worlds and roster moves caused by “negligent management.”
“Hirai failed to reach Worlds for two straight years, a starting member left due to negligent management while he had full authority over team management, and for harming the team reputation through individual activity that is contrary to the company’s direction,” Kingzone wrote, though hinted that the former coach might remain with the company in another role.
Kingzone entered competitive League of Legends in January 2018, when they purchased Longzhu Gaming’s LCK slot and roster. Despite coming off of Summer Split championship in the previous year and a top 8 placement at Worlds, the old-new Kingzone roster failed to qualify for Worlds 2018, losing the Regional Finals to GEN.G. KZ got about as close this year too, once again finishing second in the Regional Finals, this time losing 2-3 to DAMWON Gaming.
The “starting member” Kingzone mention likely refers to Heo “PawN” Won-seok, who left the starting roster this May and was replaced by Yoo “Naehyun” Nae-hyun, taking away a lot of firepower from Kingzone. In the official announcement, Kingzone cited PawN’s deteriorated mental health and health problems dating back to 2018.
Hirai’s head coach career in Kingzone ends with two domestic championships and one second place from MSI 2018.