: Hello and welcome. This is the LCU podcast, a podcast that brings stories, insights and people from Lubbock Christian University. I'm one of your hosts, Keegan Stewart, and I'm happy to be with you for another episode. On this episode, we talk to all about the E-sports team at LCU. I had a conversation with their coach, Brandon Hackett, and freshman captain Gavin Galaviz.
We heavily discussed the growing E-Sports program at LCU. Gavin He shared with us some details about his experience as a captain on the team, as well as some background on the game that he competes in. Super Smash Brothers. And lastly, Coach Hackett talked about how to follow and how to support the great things that this team is doing.
I hope you enjoyed this conversation with coach Brandon Hackett and freshman Gavin Galaviz.
All right. Coach Hackett, Gavin Galaviz, thank you all for being here today.
Brandon Hackett : Of course. I'm excited to talk about E-Sports. Today.
Gavin Galaviz : Likewise.
Keegan Stewart : I'm excited to. It's kind of it's been a big thing on campus lately. One of our newer athletic programs. So there's a lot of buzz behind it. And people hear E-Sports and they rightfully think about video games. And, you know, that's correct. But there really is a lot that comes to E-Sports and especially at LCU. So over the course of this interview, one thing I hope is that I can ask some questions that unpack it kind of one piece at a time.
And by the end we can have our audience having a strong understanding of what all E-Sports is at LCU. So, Coach Hackett, let's start here. How many players are on the E-sports team at LCU?
Brandon Hackett : So E-Sports is a blend of five games. So we have overwatch 2, valorant, rocket league, league legends, and smash bros and we actually have 51 athletes, 26 varsity and 25 JV.
Keegan Stewart : Okay, so five different video games. Yeah, that's correct. That also competes in. Yes. And are the players evenly distributed through those five games? Are there more players that go to a specific game?
Brandon Hackett : So it really depends on the game. I know for Smash in particular, we have a bit of a bigger JV because it's a smaller team. So like Smash is a four player or a four?
Gavin Galaviz : That's right, yes. So we have about six members in total. We recently just got someone else into the varsity smash team. However, our JV is mostly larger and it's mostly a bunch of more newcomers into the game. So that way they're introduced and they want to get into the competition side of the video game itself. Whereas as Mr. Hacker was saying, like Overwatch two, they have a specific number of players that they have and like some subs and they need it like they need to fill out those spots for that specific game.
So the same will be said for like League of Legends, Valorant and Rocket League.
Brandon Hackett : So for the player sizes of each of those games that overwatch two is a five player game. Okay, leauge legends is also five players. Rocket League is three players and Valorant is five players.
Keegan Stewart : How did those five games get chosen as the ones that your team is competing in coach and is? What would it be like for another game to be added in the future? Where, hey, we add this game to our to our list that we compete into.
Brandon Hackett : We're always looking at opportunities to add new games. So originally I was the research assistant before I was the head coach, and so I worked with Dr. Darbe with helping launch e-sports here. We started with not Rocket League, so we started with Smash Bros, league legends, Valorant and Overwatch. And then when we hired the new coach, which was Noah Flint, he added Rocket League.
Okay, so that's how we had the five games.
Keegan Stewart : Gotcha.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah, that's right. And obviously, we're definitely trying to get some more games, some more ones that weren't, some games we might be interested in adding into e-sports in general. Obviously, we have to go through like an application process to where it's approved by LCU itself because there are some games where it might not be approved, but it is at a high competition level, but it's purely not available here because of how LCU runs things and how they might see as eligible or not.
So some of those games that we might want here in the future might be like Fortnite, maybe like Streetfighter.
Brandon Hackett : So the big thing about those games is they also have to be nace associated, which is the the collegiate league where part of our is our version of NCAA. And so if it's not a game, it's a nace we don't even consider it.
Keegan Stewart : Gotcha.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah. So we always have to make sure it's under the program that we're able to compete in. So that way we all have competition to where we're able to do something in order to maybe win something as well. So it goes back to that as what we were talking about.
Keegan Stewart : So what are the what are the odds Fortnite is a game that LCU’s playing in the near future.
Brandon Hackett : So Fortnite's a very popular game right now. What I'm wanting to do is establish the five games we have viable and all of them. Like, for example, Smash Bros were the seven best team in the nation. So that's like something I want to try to get with some of the other teams before I start adding more. And it's just me.
So yeah, me having a bunch of games to cover is tough enough as it is covering five. So in the future, maybe six. But for now, I want to stick with the five games.
Keegan Stewart : Mm hmm. So you just said it. Super Smash Bros. Number seven in the Nation. Yeah. And Gavin, that's your. That's your game. That's your game. You're the captain of the Smash Brothers team here, and LCU. So I want to. I want to hear about that. How how long have you been playing this game? I want to know about who you're you're going you're going to be impressed.
Gavin. I know this language who your main is, right? Is that. Is that all right? What is it for, Smash? Oh, yeah, yeah.
Gavin Galaviz : No, that's completely fine.
Keegan Stewart : So walk me through it. Super Smash Brothers.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah, Super Smash Brothers. So first I'll I'll start off by saying how this team got on, like how I got on, jumped on board and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, please is originally there was only one player here at LCU. He went by Gram and he was the one who introduced me into this whole competition here at LCU.
And he brought me on board, he brought a couple other players on board, and then we all circled around and started to get more and more players. And so that way we were able to all compete with that being said, Super Smash Brothers is a fight is a not your traditional fighting game you should say it's it's by Nintendo.
And so with that there's like so many different mechanics, tech, technical stuff, fundamentals and all that kind of stuff. And so personally I play Rob. He's like a robot character. He, he works a lot of doing like he does a little bit of everything. There's like different characters, though, that do like zoning. There's characters that, like, can box you.
There's characters that can just camp you. There's all sorts of different mechanics in the game that all work out. And so it comes down to just like knowing like different matchups, knowing, knowing different scenarios and situations of like how to do stuff in specific in the game. And it's very interesting at a very complex level that it starts to become more of a psychological like reading kind of a game where it's like, okay, I know you're going to do this, how am I going to be able to respond to it with my character?
So it gets really, really interesting. And so, as Mr. Hackett was saying, we are currently the seventh best nation. We're currently the best.
Keegan Stewart : So seventh best team in the nation, right?
Gavin Galaviz : Yes, sir. We're currently the seventh best team in the nation right now. We can definitely fix that, though, because we are definitely better than that.
Brandon Hackett : Our plan is to beat Guam this Sunday to I guess it might be a little bit later. We can cut this part out, but.
Keegan Stewart : No, leave it. Yeah. So got a game this Sunday. A match?
Brandon Hackett : Yeah. So it's a playoff game, so. Yes. Right. Who's the conference champions?
Gavin Galaviz : So. Yes, sir. So we we have a game tomorrow. First of all, we were going against Dallas Baptist University. We beat them before. However, I'm fairly confident we can beat them again. And then they'll be 730 tomorrow and Thursday, and then on Sunday.
Keegan Stewart : Which will be October 27th. So we're recording this on Wednesday, the 26. That game will take place on Thursday, the 27th.
Gavin Galaviz : And then on Sunday we'll be going against the University of Guam, I believe. And so the game will be at 5:00, uh, CST That's gonna be a very interesting game because we did we are currently five one this season and are the only people we have lost to okay ever, I believe. I'm very confident that after reviewing what we need to do to fix how we should fix it and what we need to do, I'm fairly comfortable we can beat them this time, and so I'm very confident that we can also improve going forward from here.
And I don't think we're just going to be the seventh best. I think we're going to be the best.
Keegan Stewart : It. I love it. So are you in this game? Is it to V two? Are you and another else you player competing against two other players or is it one one on one? What's going on?
Gavin Galaviz : So our format is what we call crew battles. So we have 4v4 people, we have four players picked out and they have four players picked out, each with a different character. And with that it's a1v1 crew battle against a legal stage that each care or each player like bans. And then we pick. So we're like, all right, we ban the stage, the stage we're all going to stage.
And so with that, then we send our one player, they send their one player, and then each player has a total of three lives, or which we call stocks. And so with those three stocks, depending on how many stocks that are a player gets, they get to state. And if they take more stocks than the other player. So let's say, for example, I go in, I have three stocks against someone who has another three stocks.
If I take all their three stocks and I only lose one stock, that means I have two stocks remaining. And then they have to send in a new player with three more stock. But I get to stay in with my two stocks, which means we are currently positive. If there has been multiple times where I will come out as MVP, I would take like the most stocks, which the most of been ten of 12 stocks.
Brandon Hackett : Against Saint Edwards.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah, Saint Edwards. That was three or four players taking out three or four players all at once. And then we've had our player, Luke or Chumpkin, he's taken like 9 8 stocks as well. Trey's done eight or nine and then Kevin, he's also done like seven or eight. So we've we all have really, really great players shining here and we're really looking forward to doing the playoffs this week.
Keegan Stewart : Big game this week. I look forward to seeing how that goes. And later in the show, we're going to talk about how the audience can watch.
Gavin Galaviz : Oh yeah.
Keegan Stewart : Watch yall’s competitions. So I'm interested. Gavin, I find it very fascinating. You're from Georgetown, Texas. Yes. This is your first year at LCU. Tell us about how LCU and the E-sports team particular had a big draw to you and was a big reason of what brought you from that area to be a student here at LCU.
Gavin Galaviz : It was really interesting how I got connected in the first place. It was actually online, how I got connected. I've met Graham through well. Originally I used to do crew battles and online servers where I join a team right? And so I was in a team called Andromeda and whereas Graham was also on the same team and we eventually came to learn like he's like, yo, I'm also in, I'm also at LCU.
I think this would be great opportunity for you seeing how good you are. I will like vouch you, I'll like recommend you through Mr. Flint, who was the coach at the time. And so I we eventually got everything sorted out, reached out, and then coincidentally, who is my admissions officer or admissions advisor now? Mariah Davis. She also came by recruiting people are getting students from my high school education on high school at Georgetown, Texas.
And I got to talk to her, reach out to learn more about the school. And so I learned more about the school. I learned more about the atmosphere. I did like a chap day that they hosted here. I, I got to take different tours. I got to do like, I got to just learn more about the school itself and I got to talk to more to Graham and learn more about the LCU E-sports program.
And so I was like, I think this is something I want to do because not only does it just include like this atmosphere that I really love, just being around all sorts of people and being able to connect with people, but also doing something that I really enjoy with. Like it was like a hobby which is playing video games and taking that to the next level.
Keegan Stewart : Well, we're glad you're here and we're glad you're doing great things with this E-Sports program. Coach Hackett, you all have an amazing facility in which you all compete and practice and do all of your competition. Uh, share some more information about this room, this gaming room and help the audience under you understand what's going on in there.
Brandon Hackett : So it's the room we compete in. And so there's, there's 16 stations for computers. That's what we play. Valorant, Overwatch, League of Legends and Rocket League on. And then we have two switches set up for Smash Bros. And then we also have a smart board set up in there to look at voter views and stuff. And so that's kind of like the set up of the facility.
Keegan Stewart : If you haven't seen pictures of it, there are some on LCU’s social media, go look at it. You can also find some online under our E-Sports tab it LCU.edu but it's a it's an amazing facility Gavin I imagine that's that helped draw you in as well.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah. Yeah, it was very interesting when I first got to see the room, it was very fascinating to see how this is where it all goes down, right? Like this is where all the competition comes down. This is where everyone gathers around and says, all right, we're going to be going against this team today. And so now, looking back at when I first got to visit back in February, I am now in the room saying, all right, guys, gather around.
We're going to compete. We're going to be doing this. Get ready, mentally focus, know what you need to do, etc., etc.. And then we play and then we take the win.
Keegan Stewart : What does a typical week look like for you? Gavin As an athlete on the e-sports team here at LCU, you know, you already mentioned you got a game on Thursday, got a big game this weekend, but what does a typical week look like? And also balancing school and practice, preparation, competition, all of it.
Gavin Galaviz : Right. And so one of the big emphasis we have here in the LCU E-sports program is we're a student athlete. And so it's very important we take student first before athlete. And so obviously I do the normal college student things, I suppose. So I study for my exams, I do my assignments. I'm very involved with a bunch of the other like programs and other things that happen around LCU campus.
So I like to be involved in the jazz band, so I play stand up double bass. I'm very involved with Rush Club's doing rush clubs.
Keegan Stewart : Are you in Rush right now? Yes. So good for you.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah.
Keegan Stewart : So you're about to join a social club? Yes, sir. Fantastic.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah, very social with all that kind of stuff. And doing a bunch of, like like social events that they might hold, not just with Rush, but like also like around the campus. I'm very like, I really like to get together with a bunch of people and getting to have fun and getting getting to learn more people and all that.
And so with that, throughout the week, Mr. Hackett will post like through announcements and all that, just like, All right, look, captains, we're going to have a meeting. We're going to have a meeting like on Friday or our team, we're leading up to this day for a game. So get ready to make sure you're warming up, make sure you're having your combos down or anything that particularly pertains to that idea.
Then we get ready or in some cases we might travel to a different city, or we might travel to contenders, which is here in Lubbock contender E-Sports, where we'll get ready for like a game or local or tournament which is in person, which is has a lot of other people that come around and we get to all play together.
And so where we all get to like not just here in the, in the city, but also around Texas where we get to travel around and we just play some video games and try to win in the tournament. So it's really fun being able to incorporate and travel and just be able to do that kind of stuff with my team and all that kind of stuff.
And that happens throughout the weekend and I get to spend my we can sometimes doing that or again sometimes I might just been my weeks just if I have free time, play a little video games or study or read or maybe take a nap. So it's really fun being able to experience the college lifestyle, but also experience the athletic side of what it's like to be in LCU E-Sports.
So I really love it. And again, like it's the emphasis of student athlete. Student comes first. And so I make sure I'm very time management wise prepared for making sure I have everything done before I do all the fun stuff.
Brandon Hackett : So the one thing about traveling as well, because officially January 20th, we're going to Genesis in San Jose, California to compete as well.
Keegan Stewart : So yeah, that's exciting.
Gavin Galaviz : We get to travel mostly around the nation, so some fun things we get to do is obviously if we get to go to grands and this program that we're in, if we do really well, we might go to like San Francisco. I don't know. They said like the data, the places to be determined but is most likely going to be San Francisco for Genesis nine, which is one of the huge smashions that they host.
We get to go to San Jose. Some other tournaments that we were trying to look forward to was like somewhere in like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, just a bunch of like name, name cities. I'm just name off the top of my head, but it's very exciting stuff to be able to travel. And I think that's one thing I really love to do is like a passion.
It's like I get to travel while playing video games, like, that's awesome. So I really love being able to do that.
Keegan Stewart : Best of both worlds.
Gavin Galaviz : Yes, sir.
Keegan Stewart : Coach Hackett. How how many hours would you say you ask of your athletes each week? Is it a every day commitment? How often are y'all practicing? How often they are preparing? You know, you got two games this week.
Brandon Hackett : So I have to manage their own time outside. But because I have so many teams and the room is so I have open hours for most of the day, but between 3:00 and 6 p.m., I have dedicate time for those teams so I kick everyone else out of the room except for that team. And so for Smash Bros would be on Fridays from 3 to 6.
And so that's like the only mandatory time, but obviously they need to spend time outside of it. But I don't manage that part because they're adults, so they can handle that part themselves.
Keegan Stewart : And if they have an interest in it, they're probably playing the game on their own time. And that counts as practice as well.
Brandon Hackett : Exactly.
Gavin Galaviz : That's right. That's right.
Keegan Stewart : One thing that I think is really cool and LCUC has done a fantastic job is allowing fans, family members, friends, our audience right now, the opportunity to watch our sport's athletes compete if they want to tell the art, tell our audience how they can do that. And also what's in place as far as broadcasting these games with student commentary and really cool aspects there.
Brandon Hackett : So the streaming part of our games is like it's really we have a really awesome set up, so we have our own. So we have the like the competition room, but we also have a broadcast room which has some of the top line equipment. It allows us to like switch between like in Smash. It's just like one perspective.
But for other games we get to switch between the players perspectives, see their faces and stuff. We have commentators. Usually we have Landon Parrish. He's one of our like main commentators who commentates most our games. And so you can watch all of this on Twitch.tv/LCUesports, it's our official e-sports twitch channel and you can watch all our games there.
Keegan Stewart : And knowing when your games are, they should follow E-Sports on social media. Twitter where else?
Brandon Hackett : At Twitter, Instagram. And I believe that's all we have.
Gavin Galaviz : Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's all we have to, but it's it's a really great, reliable source as to where people are able to see what we're up to and so they can stay connected to where and when we'll be able to play our games. And plus, it's also interesting to note that we have a bunch of players, including myself, who like to say like, oh, hey, guys, we have like a game going on.
I would post like maybe on my Snapchat or my Instagram to say, Yeah, come check out the game or check out their game and all that. They'll be playing or we'll be playing. We want you all to come check it out because we want as many viewers as possible. And because of that, depending on how many viewers we get, if we get like I think a certain number, I think or 75.
Brandon Hackett : Is concurrent, we.
Gavin Galaviz : Get, uh, 75 ongoing viewers, then we get like a partnership with Twitch. So that's our next goal right now. Very cool for Twitch and our broadcasting stuff right now. So that's really, really cool that we want to try to get to do that.
Keegan Stewart : Yeah, you hear it, folks. Yeah, we need, we need people to get on to onto twitch and watch them compete.
Gavin Galaviz : That's right. That's right.
Keegan Stewart : Coach, what, what would you say to someone if they're interested in learning more about your team or even joining your team someday?
Brandon Hackett : So the best way is the first contact me via email. So, Brandon.Hackett@LCU.Edu once they're my main form of communicating with my team as well as people interested is our Discord server. And so I would give you a link to that so that you can join it, and then you can come talk to me, talk to the players.
It's a good place to get to learn the program and.
Keegan Stewart : Stuff and save the games one more time is you. So if you're interested in these five games, so, so.
Brandon Hackett : If you're interested in Super Smash Bros, Ultimate Overwatch Two League of Legends, Valorant and Rocket League.
Keegan Stewart : Fantastic. First there's the five games. Mm hmm. Gavin, Coach Hackett, any final messages to the LCU community?
Gavin Galaviz : Uh, hey, guys. I mean, it's really fun being able to come on here and being able to talk about E-Sports. I really love being able to do this and being able to talk about something I really enjoy. Y'all stick around. Uh, always try to keep up with LCU, E-Sports on Twitch on social media and all that.
Make sure you stay connected. And we would love to have you guys just be connected with what we're doing. So that way we're able to, uh, you can catch us playing or being able to do what we love, being able to do. Yeah. And if you ever see me around campus, uh, I would love to say hi. I love connecting with people, so that's all I got to say.
Brandon Hackett : Mr. Hackett Galaviz said, in the perfect way. And so I'll just second what he said and say, I do this job because I love it. I get to have these guys get to be the shine. I'm the guy in the background. They're the ones who get to be the face. And so go support them, go watch their games.
It's all about them.
Keegan Stewart : Thank you all so much for this conversation today. Really enjoyed it. A lot of great things happening within your program and a lot of great momentum behind it as well. So thank you all for being here today.
Gavin Galaviz : Thank you, sir. You have a great one. Thank you so.
Keegan Stewart : Much. I appreciate it. Thank you to our audience for listening to the LCU podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, go and send it to someone else who you think will do the same. Leave us a rating or review like and subscribe. Thank you again so much for listening. Have a great day. God bless.
outro : Thanks for listening to LCU Podcast. For more content like this, go to LCU.edu.