College welcomes first varsity esports head coach
Published on: October 3, 2019
The Becker College Varsity Esports Program has announced Nicholas “Shifty” Travis as its Overwatch head coach. “Shifty” is a highly regarded coaching veteran whose past roles with professional esports organizations such as the British Hurricane; the Overwatch League London Spitfire’s academy team, where he won a title; and Dignitas have given him a unique perspective on leading championship-driven teams.
Since last year’s launch of Becker’s Varsity Esports Program—the first of its kind in Massachusetts—the College has experienced a surge of interest in competitive gaming. The addition of an experienced Overwatch coach will increase the skills and success of the teams.
“It’s an exciting time for esports at Becker College,” said Coach “Shifty.” “I’m looking forward to shaping our Overwatch teams into the best they can be. There’s really no limit to what we can achieve, and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity.”
Overwatch, a game published by Blizzard Entertainment and one of the most exciting multiplayer, team-based titles of its kind, is very popular at Becker. This fall, six students are on the College’s varsity team, and well over a dozen others are involved on the junior varsity and club-level teams.
The Becker varsity team competes in tournaments run by collegiate esports organizations such as the Collegiate Starleague and Tespa, where it won Regionals last spring competing against college and university teams from across the country. Later this year, the varsity team will host its first Becker College Fall Overwatch Invitational.
“Having Coach “Shifty” on campus is a huge plus and sets us apart,” said Becker senior Sam Hauser, a varsity player. “Not only does his presence mean a lot to the Overwatch teams, it also means a lot to the entire Becker esports community.”
Last year the College first started working with Coach “Shifty,” who recently moved to Massachusetts from Texas, through its online coaching partner, Gamer Sensei.
“Essentially, we are a matchmaking service, and Becker bringing on Coach “Shifty” is a perfect example of that,” said Gamer Sensei CEO Joshua Hilton. “Ultimately, be it with players, coaches, or colleges, our goal is to help create connections that lead to success in esports.”
In addition to Overwatch, the Becker College Varsity Esports Program fields teams in League of Legends, SMITE, and Paladins. At the club level, the College supports communities that play titles like Super Smash Bros., Hearthstone, Halo, and many others. Becker is also the first college in the U.S. to offer a bachelor’s degree in esports management for students interested in pursuing a career in the fast-growing business of competitive gaming.
“At Becker, our goal is to build not only a winning culture, but also one that welcomes and encourages players of all levels,” said Timothy Loew, general manager of the Becker Varsity Esports Program. “Having Coach “Shifty” on board will help us to achieve this goal.”