Bringing back Overwatch: Meet the new Assistant Director of Esports & Gaming
Does learning how to play the piano also help with hand coordination when playing video games? New Assistant Director of Esports & Gaming Michael Nguyen thinks there may be a link.
Nguyen is an alumnus of Texas Wesleyan, graduating in 2021 with his bachelor’s in music education. During his time at the University, he was involved in both music and esports. He even went to meet the director of esports, Eugene Frier, in a three-piece tuxedo he was wearing for a musical performance that same day.
During his time in Texas Wesleyan’s esports, he was recruited to play League of Legends and Overwatch but decided to focus more on Overwatch as one of the starters.
“I came in with a different mindset than the rest of the players because I really wasn’t the best player, maybe only slightly better than average,” he said. “But I made friends, got a lot of experience and it was really, really fun. The people I met through esports and gaming I still talked to even after graduation.”
After walking the stage, Nguyen worked as a music teacher for Fort Worth ISD, but when he saw the position open with esports, he wanted to try being an educator in a different setting.
“This is a good way for me to get out of the classroom, but still be an educator of some sort,” he said. “I also helped develop this program. I love this program a lot. So, this is my way of giving back to Texas Wesleyan Esports.”
Frier said Nguyen was picked from 28 candidates and had a few intensive interviews with several people from around campus to ensure he would be the best fit. Frier mentioned that Nguyen’s passion to give back to the program after graduation helped him secure the job because it was important to have someone that would be dedicated to the team.
“He went through the interview process and crushed it,” Frier said. “A big thing for me with this role is I want an educator that's going to help with esports. He's proven that he's an educator, even before he got his degree, with some of the interpersonal issues he helped navigate. I loved working with him when he was a student, and I loved working with him when he wasn't a student. He earned the spot, so I was excited to be able to offer the job.”
As the assistant director, Nguyen will oversee recruiting competitive teams and managing team workouts, practices and competitions.
“I’m excited to bring the Overwatch team back,” he said. “But what I'm most excited about is building the camaraderie with my players — that family and community aspect of it that I was so fond of when I was here.”
However, he’s not giving up on his musical passion either. Nguyen is part of the vocal group Voices of Fort Worth and gives music lessons.
Nguyen grew up playing the piano, but never thought about how his hand dexterity with the piano might also impact his gaming capability.
“Whenever I talk to people trying to transition from console to PC, they say it's so awkward with them. I've never had that issue. And maybe that's because I have played piano since I was four,” he laughed.
When asked if he thought about combining his two passions, he said he had always seen himself either pursuing musical education with a doctorate degree or exploring esports — but found that combining the two may be a great path for him to look into.
Who knows, maybe Nguyen will even end up writing the next great video game soundtrack or learning how playing an instrument can boost esports players hand coordination. Either way, he’s humble about his career and ready to start helping boost the next generation of TXWES esports players.