Kansas Wesleyan University has selected its next Esports coach as KWU Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike Hermann announced Gidd Sasser has accepted the position beginning April 30.
Sasser will become the first full-time coach in the program’s history. KWU’s first esports coach Alex Walsh served in the capacity as a graduate assistant and Ayrius Brown has served in an interim role since Walsh completed his graduate assistantship.
“We are fortunate to find a candidate with such strong coaching experience and with versatility in all of the games currently played at the collegiate level to serve as our first full-time head coach,” said Hermann.
“Kansas Wesleyan has been at the forefront of collegiate esports in the form of multiple scholarship varsity teams and has shown a continued effort to build for the future. I personally remember reading the initial varsity announcement a couple years back and telling myself that I wanted to be a part of such a program,” Sasser said about what drew him to the position. “During my initial visit to campus, I got to know more about the university, the esports program, and the wonderful city of Salina. The area reminded me of where I grew up, the hospitality received during my stay from President Thompson, the search committee, Interim Head Coach Ayrius Brown and the players were absolutely heartwarming. Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike and his wife Senior Director of Special Events, Paula Hermann went out of their way to make me feel welcomed and gave me a sense of what it is to be a part of Kansas Wesleyan. My experience during my stay coupled with my prior interest solidified my attraction to Kansas Wesleyan University.”
For the last three years Sasser has led the program at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He grew the program to over 50 players competing in Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone. He helped the program go 10-0 in the 2017 Overwatch season and win the Collegiate Southern league. The UNCC team also went 5-0 in Rocket League playoffs. In 2016-17 his teams made the playoffs in all games. He was also responsible for leading the program through a complete rebranding and rebuilding process from an informal club to a competitive esports team.
Sasser also has experience in the professional ranks working with the Detroit Renegades.
“In addition, Gidd has demonstrated that he’s at the cutting edge of the sport and has the creativity to keep Kansas Wesleyan at the forefront of esports nationally. It’s been a great addition to our sports portfolio and I’m glad the university decided to invest in a fulltime head coach to keep Kansas Wesleyan at the front of the pack. Esports has an exciting future and Kansas Wesleyan intends to continue to be a leader in that community.”
“KWU has the foundation established for a nationally competitive program. With scholarships, the ever updating equipment/arena space, and the full support of the university, KWU is poised to continue to lead the way for collegiate esports,” Sasser added. “Building upon the established playoff/championship level of excellence is a priority. As the Head Coach of esports, I look to orchestrate KWU to be the premier university for collegiate esports in the style of professional organizations. This allows for all esport student athletes and assistants to obtain a pro-style experience alongside their focus of a higher education.”
ABOUT KWU ESPORTS
The Kansas Wesleyan Esports program started in the fall of 2015 as a club program on campus. It quickly gained in popularity and grew into a full-fledged intercollegiate sport by spring 2016. The program was first coached by Alex Walsh and the program has hired its first full-time coach in Gidd Sasser in 2018. The team competes in four games primarily in League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and Hearthstone. KWU Esports is also a part of the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACe). http://nacesports.org/