Cho Won-tae, chairman of Korean Air, smiled brightly. It was the moment when Korean Air achieved the second treble in men’s volleyball history in the 2022-23 season (first place in the regular league, winning the cup competition and championship match). He is also the president of the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO), so he didn’t like it outright, but he couldn’t stop the smile from bursting out.
Korean Air overcame Hyundai Capital with three consecutive wins in the professional volleyball Dodram 2022-23 V-League men’s championship decision (3 wins in 5 matches), which ended at Yu Gwan-soon Gymnasium in Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do on the 3rd, and won the regular season and championship match. achieved for consecutive years. Including winning the professional volleyball cup competition, which was held as a prelude prior to the regular season, he wrote a record of treble (three crowns). Both the combined championship and treble for three consecutive years are the second titles achieved by Korean Air after Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance.
With this victory, Korean Air clearly announced the birth of a new dynasty in men’s volleyball. Korean Air, which has led the men’s volleyball team since the past unemployment volleyball days, was pushed back by Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance and Hyundai Capital until the 2010s and was followed by the dishonorable tag of ‘three thousand years’.
In the 2020s, Korean Air stood tall as an absolute powerhouse. Since taking first place in the regular league in the 2016-17 season, he has advanced to the championship game 6 times out of the last 7 seasons, and has achieved the feat of winning the championship for three consecutive seasons from the 2020-21 season.
The driving force behind Korean Air’s high flight was the absolute power of owner Cho Won-tae. The love of volleyball owned by the owner of Hanjin Group, the parent company of Korean Air, has been famous for a long time. It boasts deep roots spanning three generations, from the founder Joong-Hoon Cho through Chairman Yang-Ho Cho to Chairman Cho Won-Tae. It is a famous anecdote in the volleyball world that when Korean Air secured first place in the regular season in the 2010-11 season, Chairman Cho Yang-ho visited the stadium with all his family members to congratulate the players.
Chairman Cho, who inherited his grandfather and his father’s ‘volleyball love DNA’, is leading changes and innovations in Korean volleyball beyond simple interest. After taking office as president of Korean Air in 2017, Chairman Cho, who took over as owner of the volleyball team, completely changed the structure of the team. As soon as Chairman Cho took the baton, Korean Air, which had repeatedly bowed its head at the threshold of the championship, won its first championship in the 2017-18 season.
Joe was not satisfied with this. He opted for a more radical change. The appointment of Italian coach Roberto Santilli for the 2020-21 season. He was the first foreign manager in men’s professional volleyball. There was a question mark on whether a foreign coach could adapt to unfamiliar Korean volleyball, but Korean Air opened its heyday in earnest by winning its first combined championship.
I wouldn’t have made this choice if I had only been complacent with my achievements in Korea. Chairman Cho thought that in order for men’s volleyball to revive, he had to penetrate the international trend. Chairman Joe’s thoughts were not wrong. Coach Tillikainen, the successor to Santili, broke the existing domestic volleyball framework and played faster and bolder. Following the 2021-22 season, the first year of his appointment, he met expectations by achieving unified championships one after another this season.
Chairman Cho spared no bold investment so that the team could continue its successful journey. This season, he presented a huge contract with a total compensation of 1.08 billion won to one player, a signboard setter. It was the first time that both men and women exceeded 1 billion won in terms of total professional volleyball remuneration. Jung Ji-seok, a ‘local ace’ who obtained FA qualification, signed a contract for 920 million won, the highest amount ever. Kwak Seung-seok, the team’s housekeeper, also signed a contract for 710 million won. 먹튀검증
Korean Air poured all its capabilities into recruiting good players and raising the team’s strength, as long as it did not deviate from the rules. It would have been impossible without the strong will of Chairman Cho.
During the season, he often visited the volleyball court with his three sons. In this championship game, I split my busy schedule and watched all three games on site. He even attended the congratulatory party held after the awards ceremony and drank with the players until the end.
Chairman Cho shared a toast with the players one by one and said, “How was it possible to have such an interesting game? It was really hard,” he poured out sincere praise and admiration. We shared joy together in an atmosphere like brothers and sisters in the neighborhood, not the owner and players.
At the time of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the chairman, who raised the morale of the players by delivering gold to the women’s volleyball team at the expense of his own money, will continue to play the role of a strong tall man. Chairman Cho, who was unanimously re-confirmed by the board of directors for a three-year term at the board of directors in March, has demonstrated stable leadership over the past two terms, raising the V-League to the most popular winter sport.