Catawba College hires esports coordinator
SALISBURY — Catawba College has hired Gidd C. Sasser as coordinator of its new esports program.
Sasser joined the Office of Student Affairs this week and is be responsible for completing plans and equipment schematics for the esports gaming lab.
“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 more than 60 other colleges and universities offering the world’s fastest-growing spectator sport.
Sasser’s esports experience as a head coach, manager, scout, event coordinator and business adviser spans both collegiate and professional leagues in the Americas, Europe and Korea, with a lifetime record of 142-60 (a 70 percent win rate). His skill set includes work with titles such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, FGC and adeptness at player development through playoff appearances, championships and player placement in professional teams and conferences.
Sasser, who speaks across the nation on topics such as recruiting, balancing academics with play, coaching and program 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 and rankings.
“We are incredibly lucky to hire someone with Gidd’s breadth of experience,” said Jared Tice, 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 at Charlotte’s esports program between August 2015 and March. That team of about 50 players was the Collegiate Southern champion 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 created the varsity esports budget, coordinated recruitment and scouting of student athletes, developed sponsorships, and managed 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 teams at North Carolina State and Colorado State universities. 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 and Trials team, the SkyFoxes, as assistant general manager 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, is a collegiate adviser and speaker for DreamHack, the world’s largest annual video game festival.
When Catawba announced the launch of its esports program this summer, Tice said the program has the potential to thread together the academic, social and intercollegiate aspects of campus. He envisioned students in the communication department collaborating with the esports team as play-by-play commentators for on-campus competitions, marketing students helping with promotions, or sports management and business administration students helping manage an esports team.
Sasser will work to establish an esports team during this academic year, then begin to recruit students to play on the team in the 2019-20 academic year and beyond.
Sasser attended Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and earned an associate of science degree in general studies. He earned a certification in simulations and development at Central Piedmont Community College. He is pursuing his bachelor of arts degree in English at UNC-Charlotte.