October 1, 2018
Catawba College Hires Esports Coordinator
“Esports is my passion, and to have the opportunity to continue my career in North Carolina with Catawba College is exhilarating. I am incredibly thankful and honored to join the Catawba College family,” Sasser said.
With the addition of the esports program, Catawba joins over 60 other colleges and universities offering the program that has become the world’s fastest-growing spectator sport. With Sasser’s hiring, Catawba brings a wealth of experience to its esports startup. Sasser’s esports experience as a head coach, manager, scout, event coordinator, and a business adviser spans both collegiate and professional leagues in the Americas, Europe, and Korea, with a lifetime record of 142-60 (70% win rate). His skill set includes work with titles such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and FGC, and adeptness at player development through playoff appearances, championships, and player placement into professional organizations, teams, and conferences.
Sasser, who actively speaks across the nation on topics such as recruiting, balancing academics with play, coaching, and program/initiative development, has 10 years of experience in risk, security, business management, and public relations. He also has LAN Center operations experience, designing and implementing regional and community centric LAN events encompassing FPS, FGC, Moba, Sports and TCG ladders/rankings.
“We are incredibly lucky to hire someone with Gidd’s breadth of experience,” said Jared Tice, Catawba College’s Dean of Students. “With his leadership and passion for esports, I have no doubt that our program will be player supportive, and soon, nationally competitive.”
Sasser led the University of North Carolina Charlotte’s esports program between August of 2015 and March of 2018, serving as its manager, coach, analyst, and adviser. That team of approximately 50 players were Collegiate Southern Champions in 2017, with as 10-0 season in Overwatch, and a 5-0 playoffs record with Rocket League.
Sasser also has served as director and head coach of Kansas Wesleyan University’s National Association of Collegiate eSports varsity program. In that capacity, he has created the varsity esports budget, coordinated the recruitment and scouting of student athletes, developed sponsorship opportunities, and managed and led public engagement via social media.
Although Sasser no longer leads UNCC esports, he serves as an independent adviser for that organization as well as for other collegiate teams at North Carolina State University and Colorado State University. He serves as a guest coach and adviser to university teams participating in national playoffs. He has worked as an independent adviser for 5 Kings eSports, Koyobi LLC, HotShots Sports Bar, and Tespa. He also works with global Contenders/Trials team, SkyFoxes, as the assistant GM and community manager.
It is estimated that by 2019 nearly 430 million people worldwide will tune in to watch esports competitors play in organized, multiplayer video games. The popularity of esports is tied to the accessibility of online streaming media platforms like Twitch.tv and YouTube. Sasser, in fact, works as collegiate adviser and speaker for DreamHack, the world’s largest annual video game festival.
When Catawba announced the launch of its esports program this past summer, Tice shared that the program had the potential to seamlessly thread together the academic, social, and intercollegiate aspects of campus. He envisioned students in the Communication Department collaborating with Catawba’s esports team to serve as play-by-play commentators for on-campus competitions, Marketing students helping with promotions, or Sport Management and Business Administration students helping to manage a winning esports team.
“In short, esports provides Catawba with a new and distinctive way to holistically engage our students across campus,” Tice said. “It will be exciting to see the potential connections and impact evolve.”
Sasser will work to establish an esports team from among Catawba’s current students during this academic year, and then begin to recruit students to play on Catawba’s esports team in the 2019-2020 academic year and beyond.
Sasser attended Rowan-Cabarrus Community College for an A.S. degree in General Studies, and earned a certification in simulations and development from Central Piedmont Community College. He is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UNCC.