Drury University Athletics is proud to announce it will add esports as a non-NCAA program in the 2019-20 academic year and has hired Michael Jones as head coach.
Jones oversaw the start of the esports program at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri in 2017 and led their team to a 30-19 record in the 2018-19 season. In addition to coaching, Jones also served the college as an admissions counselor. Prior to his time at Culver-Stockton, he worked with the esports team at Southwest Baptist as a remote volunteer analyst reviewing gameplay, providing feedback, and researching strategies for the Bearcats League of Legends team.
"I am very excited that Michael will be joining the Panthers family as our first esports coach," said Drury University vice president and director of athletics, Corey Bray. "His experience starting the esports program at Culver-Stockton combined with his experience as an admissions counselor will serve him well as he builds our esports program. In addition, his familiarity with Springfield, the state of Missouri and this region will help our program start on the right foot.
"His passion for esports within higher education was very evident throughout the search process. I am confident he will recruit great students to Drury who will represent the program, the athletics department, and the university well."
Jones has a degree in Political Science from Missouri State, has spent time as an English teacher to children ages 8 for 15 in Seoul, South Korea.
"I am beyond excited to return to Springfield to build a successful esports program at Drury," said Jones. "Missouri is on the cutting edge of college esports, with over 10 varsity programs and some of the strongest teams in the country. We will be building a competitive, cutting-edge program that integrates the best of professional esports training with wisdom and proven techniques from traditional athletics."
Esports will be the seventh non-NCAA program offered under Drury Athletics and their 29th intercollegiate program housed in the department.