Head coach Da-hee "Crusty" Park just left the Boston Uprising for the same job with the San Francisco Shock, one day after the team narrowly missed out on winning every single game in the Overwatch League's third stage. Yesterday, New York Excelsior won the title and put a stop to Boston's undefeated streak.
Boston Uprising tank player Young-jin "Gamsu" Noh offers up a high five. Photo: Blizzard Entertainment
Even with the loss in the stage title match, Boston's 10-0 third stage made them the only team in the league to go undefeated in any stage. Crusty was doing something right, but according to the Uprising, the decision was mutual:
Following internal conversations with Crusty and our staff in recent weeks, it became apparent that a change was in the best interest of the team, as well as Crusty. He was granted permission to explore new opportunities and will join the San Francisco Shock prior to the beginning of Stage 4.
Crusty has been an instrumental part of the Uprising coaching staff and organisation as a whole. We're grateful for the dedication and effort put forth by Crusty during his time here. We're happy to have helped him find a new home where he can continue to thrive.
Crusty's new team, the SF Shock, came in fifth place during stage three and is in ninth place overall in the league at 12-18, much worse than Boston which went 10-0 to lead stage three and is second in the league at 22-8.
Rather than demoting their current coach, the SF Shock has decided to give him the axe. In their announcement post about Crusty's new role, the Shock also bid goodbye to their former head coach Brad Rajani, describing him as a "tireless worker".
The Shock has also announced that Bumhoon "Ninek" Kim, who served as head coach on NRG Esports' minor league Overwatch team, will come aboard as a new assistant coach.
With the Uprising and Shock making coaching changes, nearly half of the 12-team league has a different coach from when the season started at this point. In addition to Boston and San Francisco, the London, Shanghai and Dallas teams have already changed coaches. (Florida's coach has also temporarily stepped aside due to "burnout and various health issues".)
It clearly isn't just in-game success driving the high turnover: Boston and London are second and third in the league overall, while San Francisco, Dallas and Shanghai are ninth, tenth and last in the standings. The Dallas Fuel fired their coach and their star player in one go, citing issues with "communication". Boston Uprising's situation sounds similar.
For months, rumours have circulated about tensions between Boston's coaching staff and the team's star tank player and shotcaller Young-jin "Gamsu" Noh. Gamsu missed several matches in March, leading the team's president to address the rumours:
Here at Boston we generally have an open door policy as far as discussing any trades or sales, but we have never came close to selling or trading Gamsu, Striker, or Neko. Although results in Stage 2 are not what we hoped for, we want to iterate we succeed and fail as a team, not as individuals whether that is staff or players.
Gamsu is still on the team and Crusty isn't, so there you have it.
Crusty switching teams midseason - while weird since his first team is so hot - isn't totally abnormal by sports standards, especially soccer. Current Southampton manager started the season with Stoke City, although neither team changed coaches the week after a 10-game winning streak.