Geaux Play Esports is a weekly podcast hosted by Christopher Turner that features exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in the video game industry. Focusing on the emergence of esports at the K-12,collegiate, and professional level.
(S2E14) - Special Guest Mike Rufail Founder and Chief Gaming Officer at Envy Gaming
Mike Rufail is the founder and CEO of Envy Gaming, Inc., which owns and operates popular esports franchise Team Envy as well as the Dallas Fuel in the Overwatch League and the Dallas Empire in the Call of Duty League.
Envy began as a professional Call of Duty team in 2007 and has grown into one of the largest and most winning esports groups in the world. Today, Envy competes, streams, and produces content and events across multiple titles including Overwatch, Call of Duty, Rocket League, VALORANT, and Super Smash Bros.
Born and raised in Lufkin, Texas, Rufail dreamed of bringing a professional esports team home to Texas. In 2017, with the support of investment partners at Hersh Interactive Group, Rufail relocated Envy Gaming operations, staff and players to North Texas. In 2019, Rufail and the Dallas Fuel hosted the first home games in esports history, as thousands of fans attended a two-day, sold out live event in North Texas. One year later in 2020, the Dallas Empire took home the World Championship trophy in the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League.
Rufail is a veteran of the esports industry, having spent time as a professional Call of Duty player, a broadcast commentator and a game design consultant. Dallas Business Journal named Rufail to its 40 Under 40 list of top business leaders in 2020.
Mike Rufail graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in moving image and sound, and currently resides in North Texas with his wife and daughter.
(S2E13) - Special Guest Wim Stocks Head of Partnerships & Commercial at Belong Gaming & Vindex
Wim Stocks has been a progressive leader in the online gaming and esports businesses since 1990. From 2001 to 2006, Wim was Executive Vice President of the “new” Atari Inc. (a roll-up and amalgam of Hasbro Interactive, Infogrames, and GT Interactive), leading and managing one of the broadest-reaching interactive entertainment publishing networks in the world. In 2006, Wim started an entrepreneurial online gaming publishing business named Elephant Entertainment, assuming the role of President and COO. In March 2008, the leading games publisher THQ purchased Elephant and Wim assumed the role of EVP and leader of the Online Gaming division and related digital gaming initiatives. In 2010, Wim was recruited to join the executive management team of Virgin Gaming (now WorldGaming) as Executive Vice President. In this role, Wim helped launch the company and platform in 2010, as well as developed strategic investor, technology, game publisher, retailer, and other brand partnerships. In April 2016, Wim was named CEO of WorldGaming & Collegiate StarLeague, which was acquired by Cineplex in the Fall of 2015, a leading movie theater operator with diversification into gaming, location based entertainment, and other aligned entertainment and digital media businesses. As of July 2020, Wim led the acquisition of Collegiate StarLeague & WorldGaming Network by Playfly Sports, a combined traditional sports, esports, and broadcast management/rights management company, and was responsible as Chairman for leading the esports business, strategy, sponsorship/partnership sales, and cultivation, and other investor and partner relations for the Company. Recently, Wim joined the executive management team of Belong Gaming & Vindex (founded in 2019 by esports industry pioneers and leaders Sundance DiGiovanni, Mike Sepso, and Martyn Gibbs), leading the commercial, partnerships, sponsorships, and business development initiatives.
Wim currently serves as an Advisor to the Special Olympics International; an Advisor to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and Ryerson University’s ‘Future of Sports Lab’; Advisor and part of the ownership group of Andbox, (parent company of the New York Excelsior, the professional NYC-based franchise in the Overwatch League, and the NY Subliners, professional NYC-based franchise in the Call of Duty League); Strategic Advisor to GG Group and Team Chaos; is a Board Member of National Public Radio’s ‘Marketplace’ programming; and is also a Trustee and on the Board of Directors of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Wim has also served on the boards of Allina/Abbott Northwestern Hospital, the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis.
(S2E12) - Mike "Moog" Aguilar Director, Esports & Co-Curricular Innovation OU Esports
Mike, also referred to as "Moog", is a Technology Strategist that caters to the needs of the Honors College in tandem with centralized IT's efforts across OU's campus. He provides project management and business analysis that helps improve workflows in anything from daily routine based work to big initiatives for both the individual college as well as the university. Mike is a U.S. Army veteran, has worked for Apple, and is an active photographer of over 20 years of experience.
Moog attributes much of his organizational and strategic abilities and successes to World of Warcraft. Managing a guild of over 150 people from all over the world converted him from an extremely introverted person into a very extroverted one. Through his 4 years managing this guild he also led raids during the initial WoW days through several expansions where 40 individuals were required to accomplish highly coordinated tasks through VoIP communication in real-time.
Moog has been a gamer since the Atari days in the 80s and can enjoy all genres when the timing is right. Mike's biggest passion is helping out where he finds opportunities to do so because he wants to not because he needs to. He has embraced his role as Lead Advisor 500% and is leading the charge for gamers and esports athletes within the walls of OU only as a precursor to helping uplift these industries across the state and region. Mike started the research and development of the OU Esports Club in Fall 2016.
(S2E11) - Special Guest Derric Franklin _ Famous Enough_ GM and Head Coach HEAT Check Gaming
The Miami Heat's Derric Franklin is the First Black Leader in the Very New History of the NBA 2K League. Four years ago, when Derric Franklin returned from Afghanistan, where he'd been deployed by the U.S. Army, he picked up NBA 2K15 and began playing the game with a virtually created avatar.
(S2E10) - Special Guest Gerard “HipHopGamer” Williams
He has also been immortalized as an in-game video-game character in Watch Dogs 2 as well as in NBA2K Playgrounds 1 and 2. In addition, he is a mainstay at gaming conferences and panels across the country, including PAX East, PAX West, New York Comic Con, BoroughCon and Fall Experiment 19. He
also later re-visited and re-cultivated his initial passion for music by creating original music for a variety of titles, including for Twisted Metal, Pokemon, Halo, Uncharted 4, Watch Dogs 2, Drawn To Death
The HipHopGamer had worked with some of the world’s top brands and companies, including Full
Screen, BET, Square ENIX, Machinima, Ubisoft, Take Two, Electronic Arts, B&H Photo, NBC Universal,
Logitech, Microsoft Game Studios, Nintendo, HTC Vive, NaughtyDog, Activision, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and GameStop, to name a few. He has been featured on many other mainstream entertainment, music, and gaming publications, including HipHopDX, Game Rant, Digital Trends, News 12, Cheddar, One37PM, DV8, Shoryulen, HipHopWired, HellaHipHop, Gamersify, among others.
(S2E9) - Special Guest Alan Caplin of JCap’s Foundation
12/17/16 Jared recorded,“I hope you enjoy the story of J Cap.” “I just want people to be happy, No matter what.” Jared JCap Caplin. “Sometimes life turns out different than you expect. Even if your life isn’t very good right now, it can always get better.”JCap is Awesome!!!
At 19 years old Jared Caplin created J Cap’s Foundation for Disabilities as a 501c3 Non-profit organization. His mission was to inspire and help people.
01/13/2020 JCap & I named this year Vision 2020/Impact 2020. 01/15/2020 The torch was passed.. Impact 2020 Mission: “Make Somebody’s Day -Everyday Like it’s the Only Day.”
Consider the Impact of an army of individuals - gamers, youth, adults and business owners, doing the little things. One act of kindness “Everyday” that “makes Somebody’s day” like it is “the Only day.” One little act x 1000, 10,000 100,000 1 million: THE POWER OF JCAPISAWESOME.ORG
It was great to listen and learn about esports and how it is ran. Also good to see that they have people that are devoted to this
Worth the listen
The podcasts are very informative and will give you insight on things going on in the ESports world.
Changing the game!
Teddy is one of the most dedicated people I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with within the esports community. Priority #1 is the growth of esports for the betterment of students/players alike in Louisiana.