“eSports is such an up-and-coming sport that it only made sense to add it to our ever-growing athletic department,” commented director of athletics Jason Bartelt. “I look forward to welcoming new student-athletes to campus this fall and kicking off the inaugural season.”
eSports are multiplayer video games played online competitively that require strategy, teamwork, and mental agility. A traditional eSports season will see various competitions throughout the fall and spring portion of the year. One of the fastest-growing industries worldwide, eSports brought in revenues of over $1 billion in 2019 with championship matches streamed online that brought in more unique viewers than the Super Bowl. The industry has helped encourage growth in other areas of business such as graphic design, logistics, supply chain management, and business leadership.
Marian will be joining the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), founded in 2016, which currently has over 175 members, a number that has drastically grown since 2018 when the organization had 46 members. NACE is the only association that currently sponsors eSports at the intercollegiate level. Some of the games that NACE sponsors include Apex Legends, Counter Strike, Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League.
An eSports club at Marian was created in 2017 helping to draw interest in making eSports a varsity sport. Marian will compete in several different individual and team games with student interest and roster size serving as a factor in future gaming decisions.
Marian University athletics continues to expand as Sabre athletics has seen the addition of eight sports since 2015 with at least one sport playing an inaugural season since the 2016-17 academic year. The Sabres now sponsor 21 NCAA sports and four club teams.
Marian has also announced the hiring of Danny Duahaj to head the program’s first team.
“I have always had a passion for helping teammates and players become better, and I’m extremely thrilled to become the eSports head coach,” commented Duchaj. “I believe I’m well versed in several aspects of eSports that will help make Marian competitive right away. With my past experience in coaching basketball, I have been able to develop an analytical mindset that will help tremendously when it comes to coaching eSports.”
Duchaj has been a member of the Marian community since 2016 when he was a member of the men’s basketball program. He has most recently spent time with North Fond du Lac High School where he has been a volunteer assistant boys basketball coach for the past two seasons. He was also a member of the baseball operations team for the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders last summer. Duchaj has played at a competitive level in Call of Duty and Overwatch since the games were released.
If you are interested in joining the Marian eSports team please fill out our recruiting questionnaire at https://marian.prestosports.com/sports/esports/2020-21/recruit. More information on NACE and eSports can be found at https://nacesports.org/.