Jul 2, 2023
Coach Spotlight - Kevin Lewis
Kevin Lewis (he/him), is the Head Esports Coach at Yavapai College and has been since November of 2021, when the program started.
“When I was in college I enjoyed playing games and competing at the highest level and aspired to be a part of the scene, however after completing my degree, my job at Yavapai College is the first time I have been involved in esports officially,” said Lewis.
Currently, the program has about 20 students. Yavapai is predicting another great year. All of the teams have made the NJCAAE playoffs and one team has won the National Championship before. Lewis explained that the teams are retaining the majority of the players along with adding some key talent, so safe to say things are looking promising for this upcoming year.
How do your players prepare for the NJCAAE Championships?
“We prepare for championships just like any other practice. We start by relaxing and warming up, followed by some strategic planning based on historical data gathered from previous games as we roll into the actual game,” said Lewis, “All of my players impress me because it is difficult to be a collegiate athlete and even more difficult doing it without substantial financial backing from scholarship or parents. The large majority take their classes and spend 15 hours a week dedicated to their game in the esports arena, varying practice times at their homes or apartments, and full-time jobs. They all have lots on their plates and deserve a lot of recognition and respect.”
What are some of the challenges that come with college esports?
“The main challenge I am noticing is that the public does not understand what esports is yet. Defined, esports (also known as electronic sports) is a form of organized sports involving multiplayer video game competitions. Esports has many factors that affect student life and outcomes including student recruitment, retention, community building, and career development,” said Lewis, “That sounds very similar to traditional sports, and the public needs to recognize this. The most challenging part of being a coach is taking on all the different types of responsibilities that are required for running a successful program. Your mind is in multiple places every day.”
What are your thoughts on the NJCAAE?
“It is an exciting time to be a part of the NJCAAE because it is being developed with community colleges in mind and Matt King (NJCAAE Director of Esports) takes the time to speak with everyone he can about the NJCAAE and its direction. This is heavily dependent on what the different committees say. As the chair of the membership committee, I am recommending people join committees to get their voices heard,” said Lewis.
Lewis played many video games growing up including Halo: Combat Evolved, Call of Duty MW2, SSX Tricky, Fusion Frenzy, and Starcraft 2. His favorite character of all time is Sarah Kerrigan, who was betrayed and is a tragic story mixed in with a romance that turns forbidden. Outside of esports, Lewis was a college-level athlete in soccer.
To find more info about Yavapai esports, check out their website at: https://goroughriders.com/sports/esports