Joel Madru is an MBA student at Saint Leo University and works as a Resident Graduate Director, supervising Resident Assistants, providing an engaging living-learning residential experience for students. An avid gamer, Joel was a player, manager, and coach at Siena College, his undergraduate college in New York. Joel is the Manager and Coach of Saint Leo’s inaugural Esports Team. Coach Joel cares about the student-athletes as whole people- making sure the athletes have top grades, enlisting campus resources when needed. Coach Joel uses a supportive approach to coaching but has high expectations of his players, both while gaming and as role models on and off campus.
President Jeffrey Senese was visionary about the future of higher education and the popularity of esports and asked his team to bring Esports to Saint Leo in the spring of 2020. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, creating the team and space moved along despite all that was happening in the world. Dr. Jen Shaw, Vice President of Student Affairs and Team Sponsor researched the sport, created funding, and found the space for the Arena and started the building process. Dr. Jen and Heidi D’Ambrosio in the Vice President’s Office have provided t-shirts, masks, jerseys, jackets, and equipment to make sure the team is ready to compete. They also deliver balloons on selection day and order team dinners. They are our team moms!
The Saint Leo Esports team is a school-sponsored and funded club sport that fields competitive teams in League of Legends, Rocket League, and Super Smash Brothers. Ultimate. The teams have competed against Rutgers University, University of Houston, and Boise State in their inaugural season and are looking forward to additional intense competition. In addition to opportunities for intercollegiate competitive matches, Saint Leo Esports provides players with individual and team coaching, competition gear, as well as strong networking opportunities within the video game industry. Saint Leo is creating an Esports Arena, where students will be welcome to compete, broadcast, and watch their favorite esports titles. Students who are not team members will be able to use the state-of-the-art gaming equipment at designated times. The Arena is projected to be complete in March 2021.
A special thanks to the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) for taking a critical part in the design, build and implementation of the technology in the Esports Arena.
In the early stages of this project, utilizing their gaming and desktop design skills, the team built out several iterations of a prototype gaming computer. They finally settled on what is now the current standard gaming computer with a high-end Ryzen 9 processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 - 8GB GDDR6 (VR-Ready), and 16 GB RAM. The system is also equipped with a 24” [1920x1080] ASUS VG248QG gaming monitor, Corsair K55 RGB gaming keyboard and a Corsair HARPOON RGB PRO FPS/MOBA gaming mouse. Additionally, a great deal of designing and configuration went into wall-mounted gaming displays with an AV rack to control the display of gaming activities in the Arena as well as the public areas outside of the Arena for spectator viewing.
Thanks to the efforts of following DoIT team members for their contributions: Daron McNab, Brian Jeffery, Darren Cooper, Gideon Schnog, Anthony Covington, Cory Reiss, Javier Rodriguez, Doug Hodges, Ray Ayala, Rob Maule, Adam Urbaniak, Dominic Newton, Ivey Moran and Manny Rodriguez.