Alma, Mich. — Esports is coming to Alma College.
Alma College is joining a growing number of institutions nationwide adding team video game competition to its intercollegiate athletic offerings. Competition will begin in Fall 2019.
"The number of colleges and universities with esports teams has grown significantly over the past five years," says Steven Rackley, director of athletics. "We are thrilled that Alma will be the first Division III-level school in Michigan to compete in esports. Embracing esports allows Alma College to continue attracting top students while providing an innovative pathway for students to succeed academically and professionally."
The esports program will complement existing Alma academic and co-curricular offerings at Alma, including the new media studies major, guided academic tracks for game design and sports communication, and student organizations like the Alma College Gaming Guild.
Christopher Gaumond has been named head coach of esports. He will lead all aspects of developing Alma's varsity program, including recruiting qualified student-athletes, scheduling, instructing players in strategies and performance principles, and coaching the team at tournaments and competitions.
A native of Sanford, Mich., Gaumond helped establish an esports club team at Central Michigan University, competing three years as a player and coaching two years.
"This is a dream come true," says Gaumond. "I'm overjoyed to be selected to lead Alma's program. I look forward to working closely with all of the fantastic people at Alma College and expressing my passion for this field through my work."
Alma College will compete as a newly accepted member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). The governing association for colleges and universities with esports programs has more than 80 member-schools and 1,500 student-athletes across the United States. Member schools compete in a wide number of different game titles, including Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and others.
"We are very excited to be adding Alma College as a member of NACE," says Michael Brooks, executive director of NACE. "Alma is a highly respected institution and a great addition to the esports community. They are helping pave the way for more private, liberal arts colleges to dive into esports."
For Alma's inaugural season, Gaumond plans to fill a 40-person roster that will include players for both co-ed and women's teams.
Students who participate in the non-NCAA-sponsored esports program will be awarded renewable scholarships in the amount of $1,500 per year. Students interested in competing or learning more about Alma's esports program may contact Gaumond at [email protected] or (989) 463-7139 or complete this information form.
About Chris Gaumond:
• Co-founded the Esports Club at Central Michigan University
• 62-21-3 all-time record as a coach and player
• Four-time participant in the Collegiate Starleague (CSL) Playoff Bracket for League of Legends
• Earned a spot in the 99.9th percentile of all League of Legends players
• Finished in the 98th percentile of all Overwatch players
• Finished in the 95th percentile of all Player Unknown Battlegrounds players
• Finished in the 90th percentile of all Fortnite players
• Coached two players to the 99.99th percentile in League of Legends