SAU Buzz

Esports Team Hires first Coach

by A. J. Engelsen
Posted on Mar 02, 2018

SAU announced Feb. 20 that they have hired Joshua Sides as the first Esports coach of the Bees. He started on Feb. 26.  Sides is from North Carolina, and attended UNC-Greensboro.

St. Ambrose esports will be playing two games, League of Legends and Overwatch. Sides has been playing League of Legends since it became a competitive esport back in 2010. During his junior year of college, he and a friend discovered a stream of Brood Wars, a competitive Star Craft game, in the middle of the night.

“I’d never seen anything like this before; crowds, cheering signs for people playing video games,” he said. “I thought for sure this was a Korean only thing. Within like a year or two of that, it started to come into the United States, with League of Legends especially broadening the horizons on in particular.”

Ever since watching that one night, Sides has been interested in gaming as a sport. Though it was at the tail-end of his college days, he was able to compete in one invitational and win before graduating. Since graduating college, esports has only grown.

“It’s crazy to see just how much it’s growing, super passionate about it. I love to just study the numbers of the game, going to websites and seeing winrates, head to head matchup percentages, I’m kinda a nerd about the pick and ban phase of the game.”

Sides believes the pregame strategy is a big part of winning the game. Within games like League of Legends in particular, having the correct strategies and hero picks can win the game before the gameplay even begins. Sides keeps up with the current meta and is looking forward to bringing that experience to the bees.

"The chance to build a legacy and establish a winning culture in a field that I am deeply passionate about is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and so I would like to thank Coach Ray and the search committee for selecting me to become the first Head Coach of Esports at St. Ambrose,” Sides said. “I can't wait to bring everything that I have learned to help build the Fighting Bees Esports team into one of the best in the nation.”

Sides will begin recruiting for the team when he gets to campus. There are a large amount of students who play both League of Legends and Overwatch, so it will be about building the right team.  

Kicking into overdrive recruiting right now, from day one, putting the feelers out there and finding out what level of athlete we can recruit to St. Ambrose,” he said. “I’m pretty confident we can get some high level players in here and actually be competitive in August. As opposed to starting up a basketball team, or a baseball team, this is kind of a new thing. It doesn’t really exist. I think there’s not quite 60 schools that offer scholarships for esports, I didn’t even know it existed til December. Just letting people know it exists and that it’s here and they should come here, trying to bring 15 students in, that’s kinda a tough task but I definitely think it’s doable.”

The recruiting and interviewing process for the team will begin shortly. As he begins recruiting, the new esports lab will begin to be put together. New computers and a new space will need to be made for the team, with top of the line equipment. The lab will be built over the summer.