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Student Spotlight: Josh “Coach Thumper” Riesenberg

By July 29, 2021August 8th, 2021Interviews5 min read

The Longtime Student Coach,

talks about gaming, his history with the club, and the next chapter of OU Esports into its new era.

Josh joined the OU esports club to help out a friend, but it soon became much more than that.

Soon after, Josh became Coach Thumper, head of the Overwatch team. He recruited players internationally, led the way in policy development, and is one of the highest performing members in the entire organization. Despite all his achievements, he remains a humble young man with a promising future in the industry and a heart for service.


Thumper began his gaming journey with a PS 1, playing Ratchet & Clank. An only child, it was a way of entertainment when there wasn’t anyone else to play with. As a teenager, he moved on to first person shooters, where he eventually made some cold hard cash playing Call of Duty.

When he arrived at OU, Thumper’s best friend was desperate for some help with the JV Overwatch team. He applied to be the assistant coach, and within six months, he was the head of the program.

As the program head, he found his passion. “I’ve completely changed my career path to esports because of the club. ” said Thumper. The results speak for themselves, as Thumper now heads an Overwatch team which offers scholarships for players this fall.


The club has affected Thumper in other ways. Josh feels that he has developed professional skills during his time with the club.

“My experience with OU Esports is the single most important experience in my life to date. Not only am I making a career out of it, but I have found something I am so passionate about it feels wrong to not be doing it.” said Thumper.

To Thumper, his drive in other areas has grown too.

My ability to teach has grown by coaching. My thirst for knowledge and drive to improve myself has never been higher. My administration skills and management skills (which were previously non-existent) have developed into a real strength. I have written multiple letters of recommendation to major companies and have developed great working relationships with people both in and outside of OU esports.”

Josh "Coach Thumper" ReisenbergHead Coach of Overwatch

Thumper has also made incredible strides in policy development for the club. Notably, Thumper was the key player for developing scholarship guidelines, which would be formatted towards all other esports pillars in OU’s Solidus Scholarship program.


Thumper is very proud to be the Overwatch coach, and to invest in the players. “It means quite a lot to have that Coach status. I have always been a teacher in some way. Tutoring, taking education courses, or coaching. Teaching is in my blood.” Thumper said on his role, “To be able to do that is a blessing.”

He also is so thrilled to have happy memories with his team. “My favorite moments previously have been when the teams perform past their previous abilities in tournaments.” said Thumper.

Watching the team grow to the point where there is a legitimate pro career waiting for some of these people is thrilling, knowing that this program is student run. He helped forge a new career path.


Thumper is hopeful for the future of the club. With the recent announcement of “The OU Gaming Club,” and the University of Oklahoma creating the Department of Esports and Co-curricular Innovation, as well as the introduction of the scholarship opportunities for players and other pillars of the organization, Thumper sees the power students have.

“My favorite moments now are when students realize that they can go to college at a power 5 school, and esports can help pay for it. It legitimately changes lives. The hope that this brings to someone that thought that their dream was never going to come true, it’s amazing.” Said Thumper.

Thumper is also excited about the coming changes for esports as a whole, and how we can partner with brands to accelerate it.

Esports is a large industry and the collegiate side isn’t even fully developed yet. As a sponsor right now, you aren’t just throwing money at an advertising. You are helping develop a giant industry from the bottom up and becoming part of that narrative.”

Josh "Coach Thumper" ReisenbergHead Coach of Overwatch


Thumper is very excited to see the club grow in the future, and encourages those even remotely curious to join. “The club is what you make of it. If you just want to look around and see if you can find a couple people to play with or have similar interests, you can do that.” said Thumper.

The coach had something to say about those interested professionally: “If you want to make it into your full time job someday, you can do that too! Don’t be scared of joining because you will find what you are looking for and you will get back what you put in.”

He also plans to be involved “as much as possible” as an alumni, stating that he is very excited about the potential for growth in the club and the department.

Thumper will be staying on as a graduate student, and we can’t wait to see all the amazing things he will accomplish.

Michela Thompson

Michela Thompson is attending OU to study Public Relations, after completing her Associate's Degree in Business Management. Michela first started playing video games when she received a pearl pink Game Boy Advance SP for Christmas at 7 years old and never stopped. When Michela’s not playing games, you can find her petting every dog in sight or on Twitter.

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