Varsity esports now at UTA
Varsity esports—competitive and organized video gaming—has arrived at The University of Texas at Arlington.
The varsity-level program kicks off this fall with a team of 15 players and newly appointed coach Drew Boehm, who heads up the esports division of Campus Recreation.
“We want our UTA team to be well-rounded students, just like what you see in traditional sports programs,” Boehm said. “We want them to learn from mistakes and the team to become a well-oiled machine. There’s a lot to do and I’m excited about that.”
Before coming to UTA, Boehm helped develop a competitive esports organization at Texas Christian University and served as the esports director and head coach for the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.
The UTA team will compete in Overwatch, League of Legends and Rocket League—all team-based multiplayer video games—in its inaugural season. The first major competitive event will be the Battle4Texas, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Arlington. Sixteen teams from across the state will battle in the first-ever collegiate tournament hosted by UTA at Esports Stadium Arlington, where the UTA team also currently practices. Teams will play Overwatch and compete for a share of a $10,000 scholarship.
“The Battle4Texas is the first of many events for our program,” said Chris Muller, associate director of Campus Recreation. “UTA is excited to get the varsity esports program up and running.”
Esports is not entirely new to UTA, where a student organization was founded in 2011. The club has already enjoyed immense success, winning the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm National Championship, one of the biggest tournaments in North America, along with over half a million dollars in scholarships.
“The esports student organization here on campus has built an excellent foundation to help UTA continue the path of success nationally within this emerging sport,” said Lisa Nagy, vice president of student affairs. “We are thrilled about the opportunities for our students to shine as leaders in this sport.”
The UTA community can take part in the student organization or the new varsity team. The former offers a more relaxed gaming experience, while students interested in the latter must try out for the team and commit to team practices, GPA requirements and national competitions. These different opportunities allow for students of various skill levels and interests to interact and grow within the program.
“When I first got here, I met with the esports club leadership,” Boehm said. “We worked a lot with the club to get the varsity program off the ground and will be building off what they’ve already done. Esports at UTA has a really passionate and active community, with an established history of success. We’re going to keep that going.”