The Dallas Fuel have hired former Fusion University player Aaron “Aero” Atkins as its head coach for the Overwatch League, per a tweet from ESPN writer Jacob Wolf. Aero’s first match as head coach will be on Wednesday against the Shanghai Dragons.
Aero was the former head coach of the Philadelphia Fusion’s Academy team, Fusion University, and lead them through an auspicious Contenders run. His efforts culminated in a 4-1 victory in the grand finals vs. Boston Uprising’s Academy team, Toronto Esports. Prior to his tenure with Fusion University, Aero also coached FNRGFE, whose members (with the exception of Casey “Buds” McIlwaine) were signed to the Houston Outlaws for Season one of the Overwatch League. In total, 12 of Aero’s former players are currently playing in the Overwatch League.
“We have a lot of respect for the success Aaron has achieved as a coach in competitive Overwatch. His work this year with Fusion University speaks for itself, putting together an undefeated run with players from across the globe who are playing together for the first time. And when we won Overwatch Contenders in 2017 as Team Envy, I remember being impressed by how focused and prepared Aaron had the FNRGFE team we faced in the playoffs. We’re excited to bring his mentality, track record of winning, and the cerebral way in which he approaches the game to the Dallas Fuel” -Team owner Mike “hastr0” Rufail, in a statement on the Fuel’s official OWL page
As the new Dallas Fuel head coach, Aero will have his work cut out for him. Dallas has been one of the most notoriously unstable teams in the league, far removed from their original expectations as a top seed They currently hold tenth place with a 6-24, -47 record, only four maps ahead of the Florida Mayhem. Their star Tracer player, Hyeon “EFFECT” Hwang, also recently announced via his stream that he would not be playing in stage four at all, citing stress and mental health concerns. Team owner Mike “hastr0” Rufail stated in a tweet that the Fuel’s resources have been deployed in full to assist EFFECT and all the Fuel’s players in managing the rigors of the Overwatch League. With playoffs out of reach, one can only hope that Aero can help the Fuel stabilize in time to make a better showing in season 2.
“I want to build teams that are going to be the best in the world. I strive to make sure my players are the best they possibly can be – both in how they prepare and perform in any given week, but also so they are ready down the line, six months or a year from now. Dallas has the components to be great, and I’m thrilled to go to work with the Fuel in the Overwatch League.” -Aaron “Aero” Atkins
The Fuel’s new contract with Aero extends through season two. Interim HC Emanuel “Peak” Uzoni is now resuming his role as assistant coach.
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