The school’s employment council, he says, she explained, did not feel it possessed enough data to determine the e-sports program’s usefulness to the college. So it could not justify offering Marquer a full-time coaching position or any kind of increased compensation. His contract of $ 15,000 a year would automatically be renewed in early June, and they would try to get a new conversation about his future in the spring of 2023. The process was over, the decision was final.
Marquer was confused, not least because of something he had noticed as he drove onto campus that day. The huge electronic sign outside the main entrance carried a message that read: “CONGRATULATIONS TO ESPORTS TEAM. NJCAAE CALL OF DUTY: WARZONE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.”
In the months I had talked to Marquer, he had repeatedly assured me that he was confident he would coach the Golden Eagles for years to come. He wanted to endure it because of his connection to Wyoming, a place he loves so much that he has its state flower, the Indian paintbrush, tattooed on his left shin. “I know there’s a massive youth exodus in this state,” Marquer told me over a coffee in February. “I want more young people to stay here. I’m very proud of the people who are here and I know the players are good, especially because it’s so cold. So I just know I can build it from here. ” But the school’s indifference to his devotion and his financial desperation had finally become too much to bear. As much as he wanted to be a rock for Wyoming’s players, he just could not do it anymore.
When Marquer told his athletes about his impending departure, they were confused that the school had so little respect for a coach who had changed their lives. “I was a little shocked that they were not trying to give him some kind of recognition,” says Travis Jones. “But I’m happy for him, because that means he gets what he deserves. He deserves to be paid.” The college has not told the team anything about its plans, and it is not clear if it will hire a new coach in time to recruit new talent for the fall.Without guidance from above, Jones has assumed sole responsibility for Vanguard team: He has arranged a busy summer program filled with workouts and tournaments that he will fit into while working as a DoorDash driver and assembling his sixth home-brewed PC.
The last time I talked to Marquer about his plans, he was driving his girlfriend’s band to a show in Casper. Marquer has also returned to play music and kept guitar and drums in two bands called Dirt Sucker and Stay Awhile, respectively. (The latter is named after a prominent character’s slogan in video games from the early 2000s Diablo II.)
Out of the way, Marquer told me that after much deliberation, he tended to look for another job in high school or junior college e-sports outside of Wyoming. “It’s an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of something that I’m lucky to know about,” he said. He and his girlfriend are willing to leave the state and they have talked about starting a family in the not too distant future. So he plans to look for a coaching position somewhere where they might one day be able to afford a house. Based on his initial reading of job boards, there are plenty of openings for those willing to relocate to remote locations: He says he found an opening in rural Wisconsin, for example, offering a starting salary of $ 5,000 a month . With so many possible paths spread out in front of him, Marquers’ future, for the first time in a long time, is set to become more than it seemed.
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