Image credit: LoL Esports
Head coach Yoon "Homme" Sung-young and League of Legends Pro League franchise JD Gaming have parted ways on Nov. 3, 2020 after collaborating for over two years, the team revealed via social media.
With Homme at the helm, JD Gaming emerged as a perennial frontrunner for the LPL crown. Under his guidance, Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran, Zeng "Yagao" Qi and Zuo "LvMao" Ming-Hao developed from LoL Development League (LDL) prospects into LPL powerhouses over three years. He also found room for Korean jungle imports Kim "Clid" Tae-min, Sung "Flawless" Yeon-jun and Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok to blossom in the LPL's aggressive environment on Summoners' Rift.
Previously a top laner with a OnGameNet Champions Spring 2013 title under his belt, Homme carved a solid track record in the LPL. Although his first team, ViCi Gaming, failed to reach the World Championship, they were regular playoff participants between 2014 and 2016. Then, upon joining Team WE for the 2017 season, he returned to the World Championship as China's #3 seed, falling to eventual champions Samsung Galaxy 3-1 in the semifinals.
Following that performance, JD Gaming hired him and, after two unsuccessful attempts in 2018 and 2019, reached Worlds in a heavily contested region - one that expanded to 16 teams. Beyond developing talent, Homme also integrated mechanical AD carry powerhouse Lee "LokeN" Dong-wook in 2018 and 2020 and, more famously, former teammate Gu "imp" Seung-bin in 2019.
Although JD Gaming fell at the 2020 Worlds quarterfinals against eventual finalists Suning, Homme praised the players' efforts and wished them well on their road moving forward, although his departure was unknown at the time.
"Everyone worked really hard," Homme said during the post-game press conference. "So I want to say: I really appreciate all the hard work. And because of me, we were not able to extend further from the quarterfinals. But as professional players, I hope they all remember this experience. And starting from here, maybe next year, I hope the JDG players can reach the bigger stage."