For The Win: Alex Rogers, Bellevue University Head Coach
Bellevue University has taken strong and aggressive strides this College League of Legends season by Riot. The Bruins not only showed success on the rift, but they showed great academic standings and success off of the rift. We knew at this point we had to interview their head coach, Alex Rogers, to get a behind the scenes look at Bruins esports and how Rogers got involved with all of this.
How did you get involved with collegiate esports?
Basically I have always been a fan of esports and I’ve always played video games recreationally. While I was gaming I was also working for Bellevue at the time of the esports program announcement. There was never really a way to bridge my hobbies and passions with my work until this opportunity came about. Once this became a real thing I was then able to do that! Basically it was a stroke of luck and being in the right place at the right time.
What is something you pride your team on?
After our fall semester we had an overall team GPA of 3.21. That is something to be very proud of aside from our accomplishments that we already achieved competitively. As a coach I am extremely proud of this team for that.
What games do you currently compete in? What games are you looking forward to adding?
League of legends is our main game. Yes, we are wanting to add Overwatch in 2018-19 and we are possibly looking into expanding into Hearthstone and a lot of conversations on Rocket League and CS:GO. More of less I would anticipate us picking up Hearthstone, Rocket League, or CS:GO.
What has been the most exciting/greatest memory or moment so far in your esports program?
It was the moment we had gone 5-1 and qualified in conference playoffs as a first year program. It was so great and nice to see all of the hard work we had put in throughout the year really paid off. All the hours we put into VODing, scrimming, and practicing (20 hours a week) had paid off and showed our success. The moment we won the final match in the regular season in CLoL. Our guys cheered and celebrated right after the nexus went down.
How has your university faculty/students welcomed an esports team?
They welcomed with open arms. Naturally people are skeptical because they are wondering how this is sport? Do you work out? How do you compete? So I had to give a few presentations to a lot of the administration on campus and describe what we are going to do, how we compete, our practice schedule, and our workout schedule.
We had to find a way to break this stereotype and we did just that. It’s a full time job, you show up and put in the time to improve and you compete. For me it’s trying to break the mental barrier and I believe we've done that. I have had the support of the athletic direct, vice-president, and the president of the university. That is how we have the funding and resources for our Bruin Bunker (esports lab). I was previously a graduate admissions counselor but once the esports program took off the administration was supportive and helped transition my previous role into a full time position, as Head esports coach.
What is the future plans/goals for your program?
My goal is to continue to have our program succeed. I want to have our students do well academically as well as competitively. This includes the games we'll be competing in - Overwatch and League of Legends. I like to reach for the stars so I aim to win everything. I want our students to maintain a high GPA and be above a 3.0 mark and be able to watch them graduate would be the greatest thing to see. I want to see our program have more than 2-3 titles and grow our program into a 70-80 student program. When people think of collegiate esports there are a handful of schools that come to mind. What I want for our school and program is to become one of those premier schools that are successful in competition and academics.
What’s it like knowing you are one of the very first schools to have an esports program? Leading the way for other schools…
It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. Sometimes I don’t know if what I am doing is the right thing or not. We are setting the stage on what direction we should go. It has been very rewarding as well. It’s also very exciting that we are coming in at the ground level and taking something and shaping it into a successful program, thus far, it's been very exciting and rewarding. It's really cool to be a part of this and build the foundation on the collegiate esports scene.
What are positives with being a NACE members
I think being a member of NACE is really good us as an organization and a university. It helps legitimize what we are doing and having a governing body to organize what games we compete in. It also aids in the esports collegiate landscape.
I would personally like to thank Ed Lehotak, our athletics director, for all the support he has given myself and our esports program. Without him, none of this would be possible and I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.
To find out more information about Bellevue University esports, visit their athletics webpage!