Interview By Te’Shawn Crenshaw for Splatlife Media
Evan Stein of ac: Diesel:
Evan is a PhD student attending The University of Texas of Austin. He spent two seasons in D4 for SA/Houston Notorious FSU and was caught by the eye of Greg Pauley over at AC:, impressive. Evan now plays for AC: Diesel in the semi-pro division. We get a chance to read about what that experience was like for him and how it all came to be.
T: Evan you had practice this past weekend and Upton 187 flew out to Outlaw Paintball to practice, how was it?
Evan: Practice was great! Diesel was practicing SA Notorious (D3) on Saturday and Houston Zone (D2) on Sunday, but we were able to rotate in towards the end of both practice sessions. Despite this, we were able to see how both teams approached the NXL Vegas layout and how they used the new W bunker. We were able to see how games progressed and how teams made adjustments and try out new strategies on each other. It was definitely a learning experience to see how another pro team adjusted and played the field. It was also cool to see how much communication goes down on and off the field, as well as cross team communication. Outlaw paintball has a great setup and we were able to watch each breakout from a tower above the field, which is definitely something you don’t get to see at most paintball fields.
T: Good to know. The weather seemed to be in our favor for everyone in Texas playing on the new layout. How are you feeling going into Vegas?
Evan: Oh the weather has been AMAZING. I’m feeling good about Vegas. We have a solid line up that has been putting in work every weekend since World Cup. We picked up a few new players, but they’re friends of mine that I’ve either played with or against for a while.
Also, when I say every weekend, I mean every weekend.
T: Greg Pauley runs a tight ship over there, that I do know. How is it different now after coming from Notorious? You played two season D4 and made it to AC: Diesel which is D1, that’s impressive.
Evan: Yes, it’s very different. It’s a professional program, but I have to tip my hat off to Mark Frans and the Notorious crew for helping me get to where I am today. I would also like to shout out to Grit and The University of Texas Paintball team for getting me back into the sport. Greg and AC has been a tough, but awesome experience. They took me in and they’ve been investing a lot in the semi pro team and me. We’re all constantly working to help each other – you can tell that everyone is on the same page in that department. AC is a great team and they have lots of valuable things to say. I would like to personally thank both lines since we all are looking out for each other’s best interest.AC as a program is also heavily invested in growing the sport, especially in Texas. We host and organize a handful of events all over Texas. We also hold open practices for teams to get an opportunity to play and learn. We also hold drill nights in Dallas and Austin each week.
T: That’s cool to know I’m rolling with the right people since I just got picked up for Notorious also. Who’s your favorite player from Notorious current or previously on that team?
Evan: Marky Frans is my favorite player on Notorious.
T: That kid is a straight up character.
Evan: He’s a young student of the game and has progressed each and every way. He’s an awesome person to be around and a great player to play with. Marky is lucky to have a father like Mark supporting him and his journey to the pro division. I do have to say that I love all of those guys. They really elevated my game. I also want to say that Mark’s program is no joke and that some of his players now play for X-Factor and AC.
T: Which all of whom I’ve met except for you and Tyler (Spiece).
Evan: Yes, and don’t forget Ross “The Boss” Saunders. He also played with AC and taught me a lot about paintball.
T: Who influences you the most on AC?
Evan: Honestly, all of the players influence me in different ways. Clint Johnson is just a great dude that helps me with my snake play. I can always count on him to approach me and help me figure out what I could have done or what I can do. Fuzzy and John Jackson are also great, great teachers. They just understand the game on a whole new level and are able to communicate what they do and why they do it. They’re the most vocal players on the team. TJ, Devon, and Nico are also fun players to watch. Their communication and trust is inspiring. Mark Johnson is just a wild S.O.B. that is also an awesome person all around. If you don’t know his name, then you probably haven’t played paintball. He’s always there to pump me up or calm me down. Tim Land is just the man. He’s a great teammate and will shoot you straight. He’s funny and very personable – he’s also a straight killer. You also can’t forget Nathan Roberts. I have the opportunity to call him a teammate on both AC and the UT team. He’s also been a great help each Wednesday night giving me feedback on my fundamentals. And then, of course, you have Greg. I love Greg to death because he gave me the opportunity to play with these players and to play for him. He’s a legend. To be honest, they all help whenever you need it. I can’t forget everyone on AC: Diesel, we’re all growing and learning so fast. I consider them to be my family and I’d ride or die for any of them. Shout outs to Jel, Alex, Nick, Jeremy, and Ryan for taking me in and helping me learn the ropes at a very fast rate. The same goes for everyone in the AC Program.
T: You got to be humble at that level man, that’s a fact.
Evan: That’s for sure. We’re all there for the purpose of helping each other and, of course, winning.
T: So on the weekdays what’s your life like?
Evan: I’m a PhD student in Psychology (Cognitive Science) at The University of Texas at Austin. I’m currently studying how people act under time pressure. I’m interested in looking at how people think differently when they’re approaching a creative problem (multiple means to solve a problem) or something like a math problem (one or a few ways of getting the answer). For instance, if I told you to build a bridge, there’s many ways to complete that task. However, if I asked you what 1+1 is, there’s only one answer. Other than that I like to play board games and video games with my friends. I also bowl in a league every Wednesday night. It’s a great way to get me through the week. And like most people, I like to read and binge watch Netflix.
T: Whoa Phd., Dr. Evan Stein! So where’s the work between this to pay for your paintball addiction, you must be a busy guy.
Evan: I’m a teaching assistant, so that pays the bills. I teach a class on psychology research and design – I help 16 students develop research questions, hypotheses, and the methods to help test their questions. The students then run psychology experiments on UT’s campus and learn how to crunch and analyze their data. The end goal is to write a research report and present their findings to their fellow classmates. It’s an awesome teaching experience that I love doing. I love to teach, whether it be paintball, psychology, science, etc. The other part of my work is doing the research on time pressure.
T: That’s what you’re doing all day, I thought you were dodging me.
Evan: Hahaha nah man. I have lots of things to do, but I do like talking paintball haha. It’s a good distraction to have, but I didn’t say it.
T: You mentioned earlier also getting back into paintball. Why did you leave and who brought you back?
Evan: I started when I was 13 when I went to a birthday party. That was back in 2002. I then started playing at High Velocity’s Indoor Field on Long Island (Shoutout to James Penn and the HiVi crew for all the love and support). I played a couple of tournaments with some friends in Massachusetts in 2009; however, I was busy with studying at Boston University and wasn’t able to play as much as I wanted. What really sucked is that BU had a team that I practiced with a couple of times. The team fell apart after our practice field mysteriously closed down one night. When I came to Texas, my weekends were free. After my first year in the PhD program, I decided to contact the UT team and went out and started playing with the team. It was like riding a bike. I had to kick off some dust, but I felt as if I hadn’t took a 4-5 year break.
T: You studied in my home state, you must be a Yankee, where bouts you from?
Evan: I was actually born in South Korea, but was adopted by two Brooklynites and was raised in Long Island.
T: ….yeah you’re a Yankee lol
Evan: I grew up in Rockville Centre, NY and then went to school in Boston. After I went to Nashville to do research at Vanderbilt University before coming to Texas.
T: Then when you move to the south and we’re both Yankees lol
Evan: Haha yes, I’m a Yankee through and through, love those NY Knicks! But I still love NY and Boston. They both hold a very special place in my heart – same with Austin.
T: Evan, I hope you and AC: Diesel do well in this first event in Vegas. People will be glad to hear from you. Any last words before we close?
Evan: I just want to thank you for taking the time to interview me! It’s been fun. Also, I would like to thank our sponsors: GI Sportz, Planet Eclipse, Empire Paintball, Pro Edge Paintball, Kick’N Paintball, Outlaw Paintball, and CJ’s Paintball.