West Virginia Wesleyan College announced today that it will become the first school in West Virginia to offer a varsity esports program. Kevin Wu was introduced as the school’s first esports coach during the special media conference.
Wesleyan will begin recruiting students immediately and the school will offer competitive e-sports scholarships for this recruitment year and beyond. John Waltz, Vice President for Enrollment Management, commented, “We are excited to add esports to our robust student offerings in athletics, creative and performing arts, and service and leadership. In our initial year we are thrilled to bring a talent like Kevin Wu on board as we build our facilities for the program and to recruit our first class of esports competitors.”
Wu comes to Wesleyan from Truman State University, where he served as a resident advisor and conducted research evaluating course registration processes on campus. As a student at the university, Wu was the co-founder for the esports organization at Truman State. He earned a bachelor of arts in business administration at Truman State and also studied abroad at Shanghai University in China. He previously coached and managed League of Legends rosters at the Challenger division. In addition, Wu worked to identify and recruit early-stage esports talent, including players which have made appearances in the North American LCS (League of Legends Championship Series).
Varsity collegiate esports began in 2014 when Robert Morris University in Illinois announced a scholarship-sponsored League of Legends team. Since then, the scene has grown to over 60 programs, with a national governing body known as the National Association of College Esports. NCAA Division I, II, and III, as well as, NAIA schools are among those offering the program.
During the past year, esports are regularly televised on TBS, TNT, and ESPN and the sport is now under consideration for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The National Basketball Association, National Football League, and Major League Baseball are all adding esports functions to game-day experiences for fans to capture the interests of younger generations to enhance their own programs and to address declining interest.
Wesleyan has been conducting in-depth research regarding the addition of an esports team. The College plans to have a roster of seven players for the fall 2019 season with a long-term roster goal of 30 as the program develops.