On July 9, Immortals announced former Dignitas QNTMPAY jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett as the team’s new assistant coach.
This move comes a few weeks after Dardoch was released from Dignitas following an announcement made on June 25. In his new role, Dardoch will work closely with Head Coach André Guilhoto and the team’s main League of Legends Championship Series roster. Immortals’ General Manager Mike Schwartz provided a statement on the decision to bring Dardoch onto the team.
“At Immortals, we are always seeking ways to create a valuable growth environment for players and staff,” Schwartz said. “When we spoke with Josh, we believed that we could be a bridge for his career by providing him an opportunity to take the skills he has learned in the LCS as one of the best junglers in North America and impart that knowledge and leadership in a coaching role.”
Ahead of Immortals’ official announcement, Dardoch spoke with Upcomer to provide insight on why he made the switch from playing to coaching, why he believes Immortals to be a great fit for him and what this move means for his future career.
A fresh start with Immortals
When asked why he decided to pursue coaching, Dardoch stated that the low likelihood of finding a team willing to change their starting jungler mid-split influenced his choice.
“I was released from Dignitas and I didn’t think it was very viable for me to find an immediate playing option in the middle of the season,” Dardoch said. “So, just to kind of bridge myself to that next opportunity, I offered myself as a piece of staff. I do know that I have a lot of knowledge about the game, and a multitude of roles and just how a League of Legends team should operate at an LCS level. I did think that anybody who brought me on at a coaching level could definitely benefit towards the improvement of their players.”
Upon leaving Dignitas, Dardoch made a Tweet stating that he was looking for opportunities as both a player and a coach in either North American or Europe. He also signed with European talent agency ICM Stellar Esports in order to get in contact with European teams and amplify his free agency announcement.
Hello, as I'm sure you have heard I am now a free agent again. I am very confident in my abilities as a player/coach and am open to competing in any region. DMs open / email me firstname.lastname@example.org— Joshua (@Dardoch) June 26, 2021
Dardoch saw Immortals as the right team for him to kickstart his coaching career after talks with top laner Mo “Revenge” Kaddoura (a longtime friend of his) and coach Guilhoto.
“I had a long conversation with André and Revenge and that got me on board,” Dardoch said. “André just kind of had a long talk about what he thinks he covers as a head coach, and what he thinks he needs from his assistant coach… and I thought I met the categories pretty perfectly, so it just seemed like a very good match.”
As Immortals prepare to secure playoff seeding in the remaining weeks of the 2021 summer split, Dardoch hopes that the team sees a clear improvement between his first day with the team and the end of the season. In the short time he’s had with the team so far, he believes the players have been receptive to his feedback.
“I’m still kind of learning a lot about the players and it’s still just a brand new team for me,” Dardoch said. “I wouldn’t say it’s super difficult to work, but there’s just a lot more for me to learn about the players specifically before I can give too detailed of feedback. I think I’ve already done at least a decent job of proving my in-game knowledge. I think we’ve had very good conversations so far already about the game with staff and players.”
Dardoch believes that, while there’s a real possibility where he sticks with coaching for the long term, that would mostly depend on what he’s able to accomplish with Immortals. Ultimately he’s still interested in continuing his career as a player.
“I think I’m still very well-rounded as a player and I have a lot of capabilities there,” Dardoch said. “I’m not going to close that door at all, but I do think there’s a possibility I just stay as a coach. It is inevitably what I thought I was going to do after my playing career anyway. It’s not like it’s something I’m not happy doing.”
When asked about the implications a move like this could have on the future of his playing career, Dardoch said that he would regret entirely giving up on those aspirations at this stage in his life. He’s hoping that the nature of this opportunity will provide a new perspective that will improve his gameplay.
“But as it stands right now, obviously, I would very easily be a player,” Dardoch said. “That was my life a few weeks ago, a month ago, but I want to give myself an opportunity to kind of switch where my headspace is, adapt to my new role and see where that leads my thinking. If I do end up going back to being a player, I think that my experiences as a coach in this short time will help me a lot in that way. I also think, in the same right, if I stay as a coach, obviously those experiences as a player will help me a lot there as well. ”
At the end of the interview, Dardoch had a message for his fans, as well as fans that have been following Immortals.
“To the specific fans of Immortals, I just want to thank everybody for welcoming me back to the org in this new role,” Dardoch said. “Hopefully, I can make a difference that the fans can see. And, to the fans specifically of me, guys who want to see me as a player and people who are sad to see me swap roles, I don’t want to say that this is a retirement and I don’t want you guys to view it as a retirement. My playing career is definitely a door still open in my eyes.”
Immortals start off Week 6 of the LCS 2021 summer split against Evil Geniuses tonight at 9 p.m. ET.