Disgraced ex-basketball coach banned from top pro league

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- Kang Dong-hee, a disgraced former basketball coach recently found guilty on match-fixing charges, on Friday was banned from the top domestic league.

At its disciplinary meeting, the Korean Basketball League (KBL) decided to levy the heaviest punishment on the ex-bench boss for the Dongbu Promy.

On Aug. 8, Kang was sentenced to 10 months behind bars for taking 47 million won (US$43,000) from gambling brokers to fix four games between February and March in 2011. A district court said Kang played reserves in favor of his starters in those four games.

Kang appealed the ruling on Aug. 14 but dropped it two weeks later.

He is the first coach from a major professional sports league here to receive a prison term for fixing games. Other big leagues, baseball, football and volleyball, have also been rocked by match-throwing scandals in recent years, with a slew of active and former players indicted or convicted for their involvement.

Kang served as Dongbu's assistant coach from 2005 to 2009 and became the team's head coach before the 2009-10 season. The team won the KBL championship in 2008 and finished the runner-up in 2011 and 2012.

Dubbed "Wizard on the Court," Kang is also regarded as one of South Korea's greatest point guards, a superstar in the late 1980s and the early 1990s before the launch of the KBL. He was the MVP in the inaugural KBL season in 1997 and led the league in assists four times.

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