First ever esports coaches hired at Bethel

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Bethel University announced graphic designer and alumnus Alec Betz to be the first head coach in its esports team history Wednesday.

Esports - often referred to as competitive video gaming - is one of the world's fastest growing organized activities.

Century Center in downtown South Bend is where Bethel partnered with the city to renovate a space inside to be the home turf - or home screen rather, of the team this fall.

With the coaching staff now known, the team is beginning to take shape.

Freshman Stephen Francis and hopeful team member described what unsuspecting fans may expect once the team debuts this fall.

“Imagine chess on steroids," Francis said. "That’s kinda what it can feel like sometimes.”

Betz's former track & field and gaming teammate Chase Pinion is also on board as the assistant coach. He said he's confident in bringing strong leadership to a passion both he and Betz have.

"Watching the world tournaments and paying attention to the LCS - the professional scene - that was something that’s always been happening," Pinion said.

"So it’s kinda cool now to see it get some light and start to get recognized by the school and actually be something that we can be proud of and not just hiding away in our dorms doing.”

And to future players like Francis, even a small school team can lead to a big career.

"Lots of college players are drafted straight out of college into a professional team when they’ve been sponsored," Francis said.

"So that’s also a big opportunity for them.”

Century Center’s new Bendix Arena will be ready for esports action in July, according to officials. Bethel University said it will hold open tryouts for the team this spring, in addition to the two coaches hitting the recruiting trail.

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