Get to Know Dr. G

By Andrew Coffman

Dr. Joey Gawrysiak always loved video games. “When I was in high school I would keep a T.V., an Xbox, a controller, and a game in the backseat of my car,” Gawrysiak said. “I kept all that stuff in my backseat so no matter what house I ended up at on any given night or weekend, I could plug my own Xbox in and play on my own T.V.”

 

While Gawrysiak attended the University of Georgia he competed compettively his freshman and sophomore years in the game Halo. “We would travel to South Carolina and Tennessee to compete in regional tournaments.”

 

It was actually during one of these tournaments that Gawrysiak realized that esports could go from being relatively unknown to something really big in the future. “There were 400 people in a convention hall crowded around Xboxes that were screaming and yelling and showing real passion. And I thought, wow this is a real thing. There is something to this, I don’t know what it is, but there is something to this.”

 

The director of the esports program at Shenandoah did not have a straightforward path to earning that title. Gawrysiak started as a high school teacher in his home state of Georgia. “I taught math for two years and I was also the assistant athletic director and an assistant varsity coach for baseball and football at Clarke Central High School.”

 

In 2015, Gawrysiak’s first year teaching an FYS class called Global Gaming, he realized that the passion he once saw while he was enrolled in college had expanded and was just as strong today. There was no esports club or team at the time and students approached him to support the creation of such an entity. After the club fell through Gawrysiak was approached again in the fall of 2017 by another group of students who were dedicated to make the club stick. “I had some students who really wanted to push for an esports team, so I said let’s do it and here we are today.”
On any given afternoon during the week you can find Dr. Gawrysiak in the basement of the Health and Life Sciences Building coaching the esports team in their inaugural season. While esports is still in its relative infancy as a sport, Gawrysiak has a one main goal for those who still unaware of what esports are. “It’s about educating as many people as I can so they can make an informative decision on what this esports thing is.”

 

 

 

 

 

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