The Madison College Esports team hasn’t been around for very long, and they might not have the most experience, but they’ve always had one advantage over the other teams out there: Coach Schmo.
Back in the summer of 2020, the community college was looking to dive head first into the world of competitive video games. The school’s athletics department turned to IT engineer Joe Hanson for help, asking him to take on the mantle of head coach and build the team from the ground up. They had no facilities, no players… and no real plan for compensating coaches.
When the reality of the task ahead first hit him? “It was instantly like, ‘Oh God, what did I just do?’ Like almost instant remorse,” Hanson said.
This week, TIU gets an introduction to the world of esports through Coach Hanson (or “Schmo,” as the team calls him). He and his players share how their ragtag group of gamers became the Madison College Wolfpack and how, in the midst of the pandemic, they found real connection in this new community.
A community that meant a lot for players like current assistant coach Paisley Bennet, who was one of the team’s first recruits. “I could say like half these people are more like family now,” she said. For Paisley, the space that Joe and the team created for students like her was about more than just wins and losses: “Whatever we needed, they were still there. When it comes down to it, I can show these people who I am and trust them.”
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