Esports introduced as SEU’s newest varsity program, training facilities now complete


Courtesy of Tony Chavez

High-tech training facilities stocked with new gaming equipment like monitors and chairs. Gaming competitions are expected to begin in spring of 2020.

Esports is one of the fastest growing industries,with viewership on websites like  Twitch remaining strong for many games. This, alongside the success of home field events such as those in the Overwatch League, has helped to cement the place of esports in  sports culture. 

With this sort of professional success comes the inevitable rise of developmental tiers, such as collegiate esports. St. Edward’s University acknowledged the potential of esports as a branch of college athletics and with it, esports on the Hilltop was born.

While the program currently has a club sports focus, the aspirations are far greater than that. “Spring, I think, is when we will have a varsity team that will compete in tournaments,”  Clint Jones, the Associate Director of Recreation and Wellness, said. “The coach is gonna come in, and he will have time to figure out the university and get the wheels turning.”

Jones, who also oversees the program and is in charge of the day-to-day operations, said that he is working hard to see the club thrive. “[I] Worked closely with the founders of the club relating to the expectations the program would have.”  

“The moment it really clicked and I knew like, ‘Wow, this is actually happening’ was probably at [involvement fair] sign ups,” club vice president Lukas Straub said. “We started getting a lot of names signed up, we started getting consistent meetings with Clint and we put out the application for a coach. It started to feel very real.” 

The club currently has their focus on competing in several games such as League of Legends, Rocket League and Hearthstone, among others. Straube, a junior computer science major, is also the captain of the Hearthstone team.

“The expectations I have for the Hearthstone team is to consistently get better and better, rank higher and higher, go to regionals, go to nationals. You should strive to be better.” Straube said. 

Straube also talked about his expectations as an officer and where he wants the program to go beyond these next two semesters. “We need esports to continue to grow, get more members, continue to receive funding and have success, and remain a fixture of St. Edward’s athletics.”

This past week, the program assembled their training facility complete with all new computers, monitors and all of the assorted peripherals needed to operate an esports program. That on its own is a sign that the school sees the esports program as viable and that the program will bring successful results back to the school.

“We don’t want this to be a two, three year program, we want it to be a 20, 40 or a forever program here.” Jones said.