Viterbo hires first ever eSports coach Megan Danaher

Megan Danaher playing “Overwatch” at the Hall of Fame: Worlds Collide event in 2020.

Megan Danaher playing “Overwatch” at the Hall of Fame: Worlds Collide event in 2020.

Jessica Schneider, Freelance Writer

The Viterbo Athletics department hired Megan Danaher to coach the new eSports team. Danaher will work with athletes to develop gameplay strategies, assess player strengths and weaknesses, cultivate internal communication between team members and guide the team to tournament victories.  

Coaching an eSports team isn’t new to Danaher. In college, she was Captain of Full Sail University’s eSports team, the Full Sail Armada. “I like to see people grow,” she says, “like to see people develop, and I like to see them come into their own.” Danaher points out that gamers tend to be “awkward or introverted,” but eSports is an opportunity for them to interact with new people and make lasting friendships. Danaher’s biggest goal is making sure her athletes “can both grow academically as well as athletically.”  

Danaher admitted she was an “awkward” kid in school. She grew up in a family where video games were always around and found her passion through “World of Warcraft.” For Danaher, the best part about video games is the interactive storytelling elements. “You get to create your own character,” she says, “they have their own appearance and they’re taking grandiose journeys across the world, and so it was a way of just escaping the mundanity of life as well as, like, feeling awkward and outcast in high school and middle school.” 

Danaher battles the negative connotation that eSports promotes a sedentary lifestyle. She says, “I always have to grin and bear it when someone’s like, ‘Oh, [the team’s] gonna have Doritos and Mountain Dew?’ No, they’re not. They’re gonna go to the gym twice a week because it is a sport.” Pro gaming is a mix of mental and physical work with intense strain on athletes’ wrists, shoulders, and backs. Danaher insists that she will work to ensure that her team is at the top of their game, both mentally and physically. 

Viterbo eSports is an opportunity for everyone to get involved. Streaming events on Twitch, an interactive livestreaming service popular in the gaming community, will enable students to run the tech side of production, something Danaher is eager to expand on with scholarship opportunities in the future.  

Students can also get involved with the new Comics, Animation, Gaming, and eSports club. Danaher says this “holistic nerd approach” to the eSports community allows a space where self-identifying “nerds” on campus can hang out. Danaher explains, “When you take just a minute to look at the people who are playing eSports, they’re not just playing video games, they’re doing a little bit of everything else.” CAGE gatherings include watching anime, playing games, reading comics and socializing within the gaming community.  

Events will take place in the new arena being installed on the fourth floor of the Murphy Center, featuring state-of-the-art PC consoles. Viterbo students interested in exploring their gamer side can find Megan at CAGE gatherings, or in her office located on the fourth floor of the Nursing Center. 

Megan Danaher looks forward to cultivating the Viterbo gaming community. She wants people to know that “It’s not a bad thing to call yourself a gamer, even if you are just playing games on your phone. People need to realize that it’s not a bad word.” Students interested in seeing Danaher’s skills can find her on Twitch with her gamer tag, PeptoAbysmol.