If you have a passion for Esports, but aren’t sure where you can learn the nuances and techniques that make it so special look no further than Harrisburg University (HU). When considering Esports, it’s important to understand that not everything revolves around being a professional player. Just as with regular sports, a multitude of careers touches the Esports industry, making it laden with opportunities for students and graduates alike. HU is at the forefront of helping students achieve the professional knowledge needed to succeed in the Esports industries.
As a trailblazer in a rising industry, Harrisburg University’s Esports varsity team—the HU Storm–sets the standard in collegiate Esports. Offered as our one-and-only varsity sport, we host one-of-a-kind spectator events, including the HUE Invitational, where 64 world-class varsity Esports teams compete in this tournament for a grand prize pool of $50,000. Events such as this have helped establish HU and Harrisburg as the hub of east-coast Esports.
HU’s Esports team has been christened the Harrisburg University Storm, a name that captures the intensity, ferocity, and power our Esports athletes bring to each and every athletic engagement. Twenty-two varsity Esports players each year receive full-tuition scholarships along with a housing stipend.
A documentary, titled “A Rising Storm,” chronicles the trailblazing efforts of The Harrisburg University (HU) Storm’s journey to building a world-class collegiate Esports program and winning the collegiate Overwatch National Championship two consecutive years. The film premiered at the PAX West Convention in September of 2020.
We see collegiate Esports as an all-around great opportunity: Our student players have the opportunity to pursue degrees in today’s hot fields, compete under a world-class coaching staff, and learn in our state-of-the-art practice space. Working alongside HU’s student support staff, our coaches teach our varsity players team-building fundamentals, emphasize time management, and connect them with counselors/emotional support.
Students interested in trying out for the Esports Varsity Team must complete an Esports Tryout Intent Form.
You can order gear for HU’s The STORM online by clicking here.
Chad Smeltz – Esports Program Director
Coach Smeltz has served as a pro-League of Legends coach for Team 8 and worked his way up to General Manager for established Esports organizations such as NRG and Phoenix1. Smeltz spearheaded player acquisition, negotiated team sponsorships, directed content, and much more during his time with professional teams. With a background in education, he seeks to create opportunities for the next generation of aspiring Esports professionals.
Joe “Joemeister” Gramano – Overwatch Coach
Joe “Joemeister” Gramano is a former professional Overwatch player with the Philadelphia Fusion and competitor for Team Canada in the Overwatch World Championship in 2017. Gramano has chosen to make the transition from professional gaming to coaching as a way of giving back to a sport that has allowed him to pursue his own Esports dreams. When looking at opportunities, Harrisburg University was a clear choice. His experience includes playing for teams like compLexity and FaZe Clan, and most recently the Philadelphia Fusion, one of 12 professional teams in the Overwatch League and official partner of the Harrisburg University Storm team.
Alex “Xpecial” Chu — League of Legends Coach
Alex “Xpecial” Chu has more than 10 years of professional experience to the collegiate level, including stints with Golden Guardians, Team Dignitas, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid. With his sights set on bringing a League of Legends Championship to Harrisburg. Chu has remotely coached the Storm team leading them to consistent rankings on the ESPN Collegiate Coaches Poll and securing first place at the Midwest Campus Clash and Gaming Expo.
Harrisburg University and Whitaker Center Partnership
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts (Whitaker) are partners with HU’s varsity Esports team. Officially serving as the home stadium for HU’s Esports arena, practice space, digital locker room, a hub for scrimmages, competitions, tournaments, meet-and-greets, and conferences. Whitaker hosts live in large-screen format, 38 feet high and 70 feet wide, with a 3,000 watt 5 channel digital surround sound system, providing seating for 200 people, with room for 700, and space for fans and spectators to attend live matches.
Questions? Email Connect@HarrisburgU.edu