The first varsity collegiate esports program in Western Pennsylvania and the only varsity collegiate esports program in the state at a NCAA Division I institution, held their first press and team media event last week in the newly remodeled JFK Conference Center.
After days of try-outs, 31 students signed an Intent to Compete, officially committing themselves to represent Saint Francis University under the National Association of Collegiate Esports, (NACE).
The push toward establishing a varsity esports program was initiated by the Center for Student Engagement last academic year. After the team’s signing event, the new SFU Esports Arena in the lower level of JFK – just down the hall from the new Frankie’s Campus Club – was showcased.
The new arena features 18 professional-grade gaming PCs and 2 Nintendo Switches. From the towers and monitors, to the headsets, mice, keyboards, and the custom leather gaming chairs -- everything is professional grade. Through their new partnership with American Esports, Saint Francis prides itself on providing state-of-the-art technology and resources to its five competitive teams.
“Our goal for Saint Francis Esports is to become a best-practice institution,” said Luke Trotz, Esports Head Coach. “When it comes to implementing esports, not just with competitions, but with program infrastructure and facility management, we want other schools to model their program after ours.”
SFU’s Esports program will compete in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC).
“Our expectations are to draw the interest of high school students who are looking at colleges and universities,” said Dr. Bobby Anderson, Director of Esports. “Whether it's to compete in esports at the varsity level, or to attend an institution who appreciates and celebrates the larger gaming community, students who enjoy gaming and connecting with others will find a home here at Saint Francis University.”
SFU Esports is competitive at the highest level and will be a best-practice model for small institutions who are looking to make an impact within the esports industry and in the lives of students. Saint Francis University specializes in the holistic development of students and preparing them for success in both their personal and professional lives, and SFU Esports is but another pathway for students to optimize their SFU experience.
SFU Esports invites you to join the millions already viewing esports online and connect with them on Twitch, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Viewers can enjoy SFU Esports live-streaming competitions and other events at twitch.tv/saintfrancisesports.
SFU Esports will be adding game titles to their competition lineup for the 2020/2021 academic year. Students and coaches can contact SFU Esports by visiting francis.edu/esports.
Below are the rosters for the five games SFU will officially compete in during the 2019-2020 season. Upperclassmen in the esports program have an average 3.34 GPA, which sits well above the program’s GPA requirement.
League of Legends
Zach Warden (Team Manager)
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Whether you’re a gamer or esports coach, you can learn more about SFU esports and connect with program officials at francis.edu/esports.