100 Thieves VALORANT have announced that head coach Sean Gares will step down to pursue content creation, with assistant coach Michael “Mikes” Hockom set to take over his role.
In what amounts to a shocking announcement after a successful 2022 campaign, Sean Gares, a former VALORANT caster and professional CS:GO player, will be taking a step back as 100 Thieves head coach and relinquishing his role to MikesHD.
Sean Gares steps down as head coach
After signing as coach alongside his former casting partner Daniel "ddk" Kapadia
back in March of 2022, 100 Thieves experienced rapid success. In only a matter of months, a brand new fully formed roster with only Peter "Asuna" Mazuryk
and Sean "bang" Bazera as holdovers from previous rosters managed to qualify for stage two, make playoffs, and eventually qualify for VCT Champions by virtue of the North American Last Chance Qualifier.
"Working with the team over this entire season since stage two, it's been nonstop, right? Since we signed in March, we've been building the team. The second the team got built, the contracts were signed and we had the open qualifiers in like three weeks. So, it was just nonstop grinding for three weeks and a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way. I really appreciate all the hard work the boys put in for the time I was on the team, but it's obviously really sad to leave the guys. I built up really strong relationships with everyone on the team and I think we had a lot of success in a short amount of time. Everyone was super tight-nit."
Sean Gares and ddk building a winner at 100 Thieves
The turnaround from stage one, where 100 Thieves
picked up Adam "ec1s" Eccles and Hunter "BabyJ" Schline
and dropped them weeks later, was quick. Sean Gares and ddk entered the scene and instantly built up a stronger foundation and made the necessary moves to start the rebuilding process.
They severed ties with talented, big name players like Spencer "Hiko" Martin
and Ethan "Ethan" Arnold
. The duo essentially started from scratch. Nonetheless, the moves paid off big time resulting in 100 Thieves getting the final North American Champions slot.
"By the time Champions rolled around, it felt like everyone wanted to see us win and that they were super excited for what's next and that's part of why this is so difficult for me. It felt like we built something special"
"I was so scared when I first joined the team because I was afraid of failing the fans. Previously, we had all these big names on the roster like the Hikos, the Ethans, the nitros, like Steel. There's huge names who were on these teams. And, I think that when the roster we built got released, there was a lot of doubt around it. But, the change in sentiment was so quick. I couldn't believe how quickly the fans embraced us and cheered us on. By the time Champions rolled around, it felt like everyone wanted to see us win and that they were super excited for what's next. That's part of why this is so difficult for me. It felt like we built something special"
Sean Gares' short stint as coach ends with a 17-9 record (65% win percentage) in official VCT matches. Moreover, it was clear in interviews and press conferences that he built a great rapport with the team. He garnered their respect and there was a mutual trust between the players and staff. It's a major loss for a team that had their trajectory pointing up for 2023. With Sean Gares and ddk leading the way, 100 Thieves held one of the strongest front offices in the partnership system.
Gares pivoting to content creation and casting
Regardless, Gares makes it clear that he was missing making content, and more importantly, casting. He and ddk were considered the premier duo in VALORANT casting before he left the broadcast booth to pursue coaching. He doesn't officially commit to returning to casting in the 100 Thieves video, but mentions it in passing as a possibility.
"The transition is obviously bittersweet, right? I definitely miss streaming and creating content for my fans throughout this time. And that was one of the hardest things, that and I really missed casting and being involved in the scene more and all the things I used to do. You unfortunately don't have a lot of time for that when you're on an esports team as a coach. I didn't think I'd miss it as much as I did. I thought my competitive side would take over and it did, which is why I didn't do any of those old things. But, I truly do miss it a lot."
The future of 100 Thieves VALORANT
As for 100 Thieves moving forward, not much will change day-to-day as MikesHD has been with the team since March. He learned under Gares tutelage and was already a major voice on the team. His experience goes back to Envy and he had a previous stint with G2. Furthermore, ddk will be sticking around as the general manager and puts his trust in Mike to continue to build upon on a strong finish to the 2022 season.
Feature image courtesy of Colin Wolff and Riot Games