Ahead of the 2021 season, Greyson "Goldenglue" Gilmer took off his player hat and donned a coaching hat in its place, becoming the new head coach for the 100 Thieves Academy roster. Goldenglue has played professionally for about eight years, in a mix of Challenger, Academy, and LCS rosters, most recently subbing in partway through the 2020 Summer Split for Evil Geniuses.
After his announcement, we spoke with Goldenglue about his player career, how he is preparing for his new role, his expectations for the upcoming season, and past coaches he draws inspiration from.
You can watch the interview here, or read the transcript below.
Before we get into what you're doing now in the off-season, can we check in with the process of what led you to become a coach? I know you were on a one split contract with EG, so a decision needed to be made, but why this?
It was a really multi-faceted decision. It wasn't one easy thing to make me say, "This is what pushed me over the edge to make the decision to go and coach." I had playing options in the LCS and playing options in a lot of places, but what it came down to is I was more excited about the idea of becoming a coach for 100 Thieves than I was about any of my playing options. And that kind of came down to the situation where I decided I didn't want to play on the LCS unless I was going to be on a team that could push for top three. And none of my options really felt like they could do that. And I thought, if I'm not competing to be the best, then I'd rather try this new role of coaching.
I've had a lot of coaches in the past tell me I have a good personality or attitude or skills to be a coach, and I feel like this is a great time to give that a shot. And it's with an organization and staff that I really want to be a part of. 100 Thieves is an awesome org from the top down and I'm really excited to be working with them. It was a tough decision, to be honest, because being a player has been my cornerstone identity piece for eight years now. So I definitely didn't take it lightly.
I put out that long TwitLonger to share some of my thoughts. But at the end of the day, I was just more excited about being a coach for 100 Thieves than any of my other options.
I wanted to ask about that identity thing, too. I think it's easy as a mid laner to have a specific identity - because of the importance of the role and the various ways you can play it, like roaming or heavy mechanics, etc. - but I think it's a bit more difficult to have an identity as a coach. So what is your plan for defining yourself as a coach?
I think it is hard because as a player it is about me. It's about my performance, my play, my wins, right? But going into the coaching role, I think it's going to be about lifting up everyone around me. And I think if I do a good job at that, there will be a small light on me, but I'm not expecting to be in the spotlight. I'm expecting to be a more low-key role publicly facing, which I'm fine with. I don't really feel like I'm dying to have the fame of a player. I'm just going to try to do my best to let my players look as good as possible. And if I do that then I'll know I'm doing a good job.
I think something cool about you - and you can agree or disagree - but you may be the player that spent the most time out of anyone switching between LCS and Academy. So I think you are in a unique spot, do you feel like that will help you out? Do you plan to leverage that?
For sure, I'm in an extremely unique position considering who I am and all the experiences I have. There's no other player with my experiences. And I know exactly what these guys need. I know how to put these guys on the right track. I was in the Academy position for so long on Cloud9 and Team Liquid, and I was always the kind of player that had to go there [to Academy] because people didn't believe in me, and then I'd have to work my way up to make people give me a shot. So I think I have a sense of what their priorities need to be to get them to the LCS. And I think also I'm really excited to work with the talent. I really think all five of them will be on the LCS within the year. So that's my goal for sure.
A lot of times we'll see player-coaches potentially struggle to find a way to establish authority over players. What is your plan in having authority and really lead these guys?
I think that's one of the things I think about a lot, like how do I change from being a player to an authority figure. And I think that it helps that I'm starting in Academy and not going straight into LCS. My whole roster is a fair amount younger than me, I played against Ry0ma and Poome, so they know what I'm about, and I've just been around so much longer than them, so I'm kinda hoping that comes into some of the respect that I think I deserve. But at the same time, I want to be able to earn their respect, so I think through my work ethic and through what I think about the game, I think that in itself, will carry some respect.
Along with that, do you plan on staying on top of solo queue? Like maybe beat Ry0ma in some 1v1s and assert your dominance that way?
Yeah, I actually definitely still plan to continue playing solo queue. Maybe not as much as previously, but also maybe more since I won't be playing during the day, I'll be coaching, so maybe I'll want to play more afterward. I definitely want to be Challenger, and I kind of want to be higher ranked than my players so I can say, "Hey, get your rank up! What are you doing? You're slacking!" So I think that will be a fun and interesting dynamic.
Well good luck to those guys trying to compete with you then! The other thing about 100 Thieves specifically is they have done a really good job scouting talent and developing that. Kelsey Moser did a really good job with that. So how do you plan to both differentiate yourself from what they did but continue to build on that foundation that they built?
So I don't have complete context with how Kelsey worked, all I know is I've heard great things about what she did, and from the results she got, she's obviously a really good coach. But I'm going in and not really thinking about what she did, but rather about what I'm going to do and maximizing the strengths that I have with the experience that I have.
Also being able to relate to the players and know what they're going through. Outside of the game is going to be a huge part of why I'm successful. A lot of people think they can understand what a player is going through when they're getting destroyed by Reddit or Twitter, getting hate comments wherever they look, or when they're having a bad day of scrims. Most people don't know how to console them because they don't really know what they're going through. But I've been there, so I think I know better than almost anyone what to tell these guys to keep their morale up and keep them happy and dedicated and focused.
What is your off-season plan to get set up before the season starts?
I'm doing some reading about stuff like being a leader, ways to teach people, etc. I'm reading a couple books right now, one's called Grit, and one's called Daring Greatly. [Oh, great book!] Yeah, that book is amazing. I just finished it. Amazing book. And I'm also reading Atomic Habits. I've read a lot of books about learning and improving in the past, it's kind of like a passion of mine, so I'm doing research and doing scouting reports for my players to get some background and learn about their play and their style.
And I'm also doing a lot of talking too to other coaches. I've talked a lot to Bjergsen who is doing the exact same thing as me, going from player to coach, so we relate a lot. So it's been a semi-busy time where I'm doing whatever I think will set me up for success next year.
Are you doing your own scouting reports? Like what do you actually mean by that?
So 100 Thieves has a method for how they scout players, so I don't want to go too far into it but there's a method I'm following to rate them on certain things.
Cool! The other thing that I think is ironic is this year we finally have 6 NA mids, but it's the season where you move to being a coach when teams just decide to promote all the Academy mids. So we have Perkz here now, Bjergsen retired, and all these rookie mids. So what is your take on the 2021 mid lane?
What's that saying? "I crawled so they could walk." or something hahaha. Nah, that's super cool and exciting. I think next split is going to be really top-heavy. I think the top three, four, or maybe five players are really, really good, and then there are a bunch of guys trying to prove themselves. I think since it will probably be online at least to start off, that would be a really big buff to the new guys coming in. So I wouldn't be surprised to see some upsets or some better performances than you'd expect out of some of the newer talent, but I am personally really excited to watch Perkz. I watch a lot of Perkz and he's just phenomenal. So hopefully he doesn't get complacent or go into retirement mode, but if he comes over here and does what he did in Europe, it's going to be nuts.
I agree! Last question before we go, you've had a lot of coaches over the years, you've changed teams a lot. So any specific standout coaches you'd hope to honor or draw inspiration from?
Yeah, I've worked with so many coaches in my career. There are little bits I can take from each of them. Someone that's left a big impression is Cain. I think Cain did a really good job, even though I just worked with him briefly, of making me feel comfortable to perform and not feel like the end of the world if I make a mistake. So him, and parts of Reapered, Westrice, Inero, Artemis, Irean... All the coaches I've worked with have different strengths, so I'm hoping I can combine them and become that phrase, "The total is greater than the sum of its parts."