UTA Q&A: Drew Boehm
In 2019, Drew Boehm became The University of Texas at Arlington’s first esports coach, serving as the program’s assistant director.
He sees “something special” in store for the UTA program and the students competing in it.
1. What’s a myth you’d like to dispel about esports?
For people out there who don’t know the gaming or esports scene, there can be some negative stereotypes—that it’s a waste of time or an antisocial activity. It is quite the opposite. Esports is often an in-depth and team-based activity where communication is key.
Here at UTA, we treat our esports teams similar to traditional sports programs. We have scheduled practices, we scrimmage other universities, we go over gameplay footage and we compete at the national collegiate level. It’s funny that my dad used to say that my brothers and I played too many video games, and now we laugh because this is what I do for my job.
2. Did you ever think you’d make a career out of this?
I often thought that having a career in the video game industry would be something I’d love. Honestly though, I can’t say that I always saw myself making a career out of this exact thing. I was heavily involved in the gaming and esports community during my time in school and got a job as the head esports coach at a university shortly after graduation. When I saw the opportunity to create and head the varsity esports program here at UTA, near my hometown and where I grew up, I was incredibly excited.
3. What’s the potential for esports in higher education?
Every week more and more colleges and universities are creating varsity esports programs, and for good reason. Esports programs attract a diverse array of students from all backgrounds. Students can learn skills that are transferable into the workforce, make lifelong friends and compete at the collegiate level with just as much enthusiasm and legitimacy as any other sport. I have people reach out to me on nearly a daily basis, asking about the program and how they can get involved. We’ve even had some semipro and professional esports teams reach out to some of our players, which is really cool.
4. What’s your favorite video game to play?
It’s a bit hard to just pick one—currently StarCraft II, League of Legends, PUBG, RuneScape, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Call of Duty, Dishonored and the Total War series. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough time to play them all as much as I’d like.
5. What do you see for the future of esports?
Esports is growing exponentially and will not only be around for the foreseeable future, but also will continue to thrive. The estimated value of the esports industry globally is $800 million to $900 million. By 2022, it’s predicted to be about $1.7 billion. At UTA specifically, I want to have continued success and finish building out the program. It has been an absolute blast so far, and with how active and passionate the esports community is here at UTA, I think we have a lot of room for something special.