Marian University has announced it will add its newest athletic department program eSports during the 2020-2021 academic year, with a familiar face being tabbed to help the team boot up.

On pace to graduate in May with a degree in Sport and Recreation Management and a minor in Athletic Coaching, Danny Duchaj had impressed the Marian community over the past several years working as an intern for faculty in the technological field. He’s been involved with the creation of the program since its infancy, displaying a consistent commitment to bringing it from the proposal stage all the way through to approval.

“With how much our athletic offerings have grown over the past several years, it only made sense to add such a fast-growing sport,” said Director of Athletics Jason Bartelt. “I’m glad we’ll be able to help high school students take their passion and translate it to competing at the collegiate level, and it was an easy decision to have someone who knows the sport and Marian at the helm for our launch.”

eSports are multiplayer video games played online against other individuals and teams. Marian’s coed team will be a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, which serves as the governing body to more than 150 colleges and universities and sets standards for eligibility and conduct for collegiate eSports.

The Marian team will start by competing in League of Legends, which requires a six-person roster, and Overwatch, requiring a seven-person roster. Duchaj is looking to begin the program with roughly 15 players, and has already begun recruiting in Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as tapping into the talents of Marian’s already-established 30-member eSports Club.

The program will practice and compete in a soon-to-be renovated room in the Stayer Center, which will house its collection of monitors, gaming computers, and other custom Marian equipment, along with gaming stations, a lounge area and space for spectators.

“I really think the support we have from everyone at the university will only allow us to grow, accomplish great things and bring in competitors from all over,” said Duchaj. “It’s obviously an honor to be the one leading the program as it starts, and I’m looking forward to being able to build the team and have Marian become associated with its eSports success.”

Daniel Duchaj