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ACR takes a deep dive into Columbia College Missouri esports program
Columbia College Missouri has an esports team, known as the Columbia Cougars, which only lost three of its 26 matchups last season. One of the first schools to design a program focused on gaming, Columbia College was the first school in the Southeastern Conference to join the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). The program, which offers both full and partial esports scholarships, was one of the first colleges in the country to offer esports scholarships to talented student gamers.
Funded through the Columbia College Athletic Department and administered through student affairs, the team competes in League of Legends, with 12 players on roster for 2018-2019.
Where Do Columbia College Esports Players Practice and Play?
Columbia College Missouri designed a space known as the Game Hut to house the esports League of Legends team on campus. According to Dimensional Innovations (DI), the space was completely renovated from a small soccer locker room into a cutting-edge, futuristic environment complete with the latest gaming technology. DI was responsible for the interior design, custom lighting elements, and signage.
Columbia College Missouri Cougars Esports News and Headlines
- The Columbia College Cougars qualified for the College League of Legends National Championship in Los Angeles after defeating University of Texas 2-0 in play-ins, receiving the seventh seed in the championship bracket. The 4-day tournament showcased the best collegiate teams from North America in an 8-team single-elimination bracket.
- The Columbia Cougars advanced to the national championship last season, falling to UC Irvine—one of the best esports teams in the nation.
- In late September 2018, the Columbia Cougars won the grand prize pool of $50,000 at the HUE Championship, an event that included 32 collegiate teams.
Columbia College Missouri Hires New Coach
In late January 2019, the Columbia College Athletic Department announced the hiring of Doruk Hacioglu as Head Esports Coach. A native of Boulder, Colorado, Doruk studied and competed as a League of Legends player at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, graduating in 2017 with a degree in Biological Sciences. During this time, he also co-founded the Edinburgh League of Legends Society and was a coach for Excel eSports in the United Kingdom, leading his team to the Championship.
In his first season with the Cougars, the team experienced tremendous success and finished with an overall record of 14-4. During the season, Hacioglu also led the team to a number one national ranking in the ESPN Coaches Poll.
What Degree Programs Does Columbia College Missouri Offer for Aspiring Game Designers?
While collegiate esports participants come from a wide spectrum of majors, many students who participate in competitive esports intend to pursue careers in the games industry. Degree options for aspiring game designers include a BS in Computer Science. Aspiring game artists can pursue a BA, BFA or BS in Art or a BA in Graphic Design. For those interested in management, the school offers a BA in Sports Management.
How Do I Join the Columbia College Missouri Esports Team?
To join the Columbia College Missouri esports team, interested applicants must complete the programs online esports questionnaire. The school says that all applicants are strongly encouraged to register their League of Legend’s account with www.replay.gg. This service allows CC to watch the players’ gameplay footage, which will aid in the recruitment process.
For additional details about the esports program, visit the official Columbia Cougars website here or contact Head Coach Doruk Hacioglu at [email protected].