Esports coach says Pride’s video success is result of a team effort – including his assistants



The university’s eSports facilities are always packed – with official Pride team members practicing or competing or with students looking to fill time between classes.

Being head coach does not mean always being in charge.

“I don’t coach every game,” said Justin Bragg, head coach of PNW’s eSports team. “I coach League of Legends. Student coaches mostly help out with other games.”

Though he only actively coaches LoL, Bragg knows what it takes to be a coach and to be a player.

“A good coach exemplifies leadership as well as holding the team accountable for its actions,” he said. “Being good at the game also helps.

“Being an ideal [eSports team] member or recruit is similar to … traditional sports like soccer or basketball,” said Bragg. “Selflessness. Good student. Good grades. Any team experience.”

Though the eSports team record is 9-9 overall, Bragg is confident about the season that started in January.

“We play leagues throughout the year and the record doesn’t exactly portray our accurate league ranking,” said Bragg. “We play in some of the best leagues in the country, and I am very happy with our performance.”

He said some other coaches attempt to “farm” for wins to make their teams look better.

“Sometimes teams will go into a league that they know they will play against to make their record seem better than it is,” said Bragg. “When the college season arrives, the leagues that farmed for wins will lose because … they didn’t challenge themselves [in the preseason].”

He said PNW, which finished its LoL season 12-2 last year, remains strong. 

“There are only a handful of teams that give us trouble, and they are probably the top 10 teams in the country,” said Bragg. 

He said he sees nothing but growth in the future for PNW’s teams and sport in general.

“eSports is consistently growing,” said Bragg. “When I started coaching … there were only about 40 schools that had eSports programs. Now there are well over 400. Colleges are realizing that eSports leagues are an effective way to get more students. 

“For PNW, I see our arena growing increasingly as students join the eSports league,” he said. “And there are more opportunities for students to join when tournaments allow multiple teams to compete for the school. For example, we currently have four Rocket League teams [each game] that can still expand to allow students to participate in the program.”