Coachvicious: "I want to earn it" | LoL Esports
Coachvicious: "I want to earn it"
Brandon "Saintvicious" DiMarco's retirement announcement following the 2015 Spring Split left fans stacking tears, and rightly so. Saintvicious' history in competitive League of Legends spans all the way back to early 2011 and his days with Counter Logic Gaming.
In the twilight of his career, he was playing amongst the young guns that used to look up to him when they were first starting out.
Accompanied by fellow veteran and longtime Curse teammate AD carry David "Cop" Roberson, Old Man Saint was able to successfully guide Curse Academy into the LCS by way of the 2015 NA LCS Expansion Tournament. In the Spring Split, Curse Academy, rebranded as Gravity, would lean on Saintvicious' experience and leadership abilities to make the postseason in their first split as an LCS squad.
Shortly after his decision to step down as Gravity's jungler, Saintvicious took the next step in his career by becoming coach for recently relegated Team Coast. Coast, who have high hopes of regaining their LCS spot at the end of this season, are banking on Saint's successful track-record as a leader to help guide them to the promise land.
That's the guy
While coaches are a well established facet of esports teams in Korea, they're a relatively new addition to regions like North America and finally entered the limelight in the 2015 Season. "You know when you see SKT come out and they have KkOma (Kim Jung-gyun) come out, it's like damn that's the guy, that's the beast coach. Who is that for NA?" asks Saintvicious.
Saintvicious isn't coy at about his desire and belief that he can be that guy. "I want to be the beast coach, I want to be NA's coach, that's my end game goal. I think it's a hard task, and that's why I like it," he explains.
Starting from the bottom
"I started with Coast because I wanted to earn it, rather than just be given it," says Saintvicious. Given that he was the de facto coach for Curse Academy as they climbed out of the Challenger Series, Saintvicious already knows what it takes to steer a team to victory in-game. As coach, he'll have a say in the direction the team is taking off the Rift as well.
He'll have his work cut out for him though, as Team Coast had the worst regular season on record during this past Spring Split, going 1-17. Auto-relegated out of the LCS, Coast will now be aiming to climb their way through the Challenger Series and back to the bright lights of West LA. For Saintvicious, this is exactly the environment in which he wants to gain his coaching chops.
"Coast, you know they're rebuilding their roster to compete in the Promotion Tournament, I thought it'd be a good way to try to mold a team from the ground up and be able to work with it from the base level," he explains. "We've been trying out different people and it's not going to look exactly like the roster you saw in the last LCS. We're trying different people out and just trying to see what works, nothing is set in stone yet."
While his experience as a player will help, Saintvicious knows that there's a lot more to coaching than just a deep understanding of the game itself. "I know how to play the game and how it should be played, it's just a matter of figuring out how to convey that to people and teach that to people in the proper way," he says.
The responsibility of a coach to effectively communicate with their players is one of the primary reasons Saintvicious decided to go into coaching in the first place. As opposed to becoming a full-time streamer or caster as many players seek to do post-retirement, Saintvicious says that he's looking to gain managerial skills in his new position. "I think the most difficult thing about coaching, at least in esports, is just player relations and making sure everyone gets along and respects each other."
Ready to engage
As for his plans with Coast, Saintvicious says he already knows where he wants to take the team on the strategic front. "I don't really want to go into specifics right now, but I think every team needs to have an identity. What their playstyle is… or how they try to play the game. I know exactly how I want the team to play, it's just a matter of breaking bad habits and teaching them to play that way."
It's understandable that Saintvicious doesn't want to reveal too much about their gameplay too soon. With up and coming teams like Misfits knocking down the doors just to get into the NA Challenger Series, Coast will face a host of ambitious young teams all vying for a spot in the 2016 NA Spring Promotion Tournament.
Can Team Coast find their way back to the NA LCS? Will Saintvicious be crowned Best Dressed Coach NA? Find out all this and more, next time on LoLesports.
Schuyler Winter once slept with his shoes on in a barricaded hotel room in Tunis, on purpose. He loves discussing all things Lolesports and you should totally hit him up on Twitter.