LA Gladiators brings on face as head coach, adds Unter and SMASH as assistant coaches

The Gladiators found its new coaching staff.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment

After parting ways with former head coach David “dpei” Pei earlier this month, the Los Angeles Gladiators has found its new head coach in the form of Sam “face” Merewether, the Overwatch League team announced today. L.A. also added Max “Unter” Unterwurzacher and Bee-won “SMASH” Cho as assistant coaches.

The ever-so-perennial contender didn’t have a horrible season this year by any means, but it was seemingly time for a change. The letting go of dpei and a number of other players on the roster, namely flex DPS Chris “MirroR” Trinh, main tank Kim “MuZe” Young-han, and support Grant “moth” Espe, signified somewhat of a new era for the Gladiators moving forward. Add in the retirement of Overwatch legend Kim “birdring” Ji-hyeok earlier this month and the Overwatch League team had its hands full going into the offseason.

Replacing a head coach who held his position for four years in no way can be easy, but that’s where face comes in. As a former assistant coach under the aforementioned dpei, face has had plenty of time to learn what it takes to perform in the role. The now head coach has been around the scene since 2018, having previously coached teams like the old 2019 NRG Esports and Talon Esports rosters before moving up to the official Overwatch league.

Though they aren’t as tenured as face, the two new assistant coaches bring value of their own. As a former player and later coach, Unter has a plethora of experience to bring to the table. He played for a number of Contenders teams and coached several OWL teams, such as the Los Angeles Valiant in 2020 and most recently the Atlanta Reign this year.

SMASH brings a different type of experience, one that saw him coach for a number of teams in the Contenders scene in China and Korea. Similar to Unter, SMASH had his hands on the game as a player back in Overwatch APEX Challengers season three.

Now with its coaching staff filled up, the Gladiators only have a handful of signings left until the org’s offseason pickups can be classified as finished.