Paul Capoccia was recently named director of the new esports program at Marywood University. One of a select number of colleges and universities across the nation to offer a competitive esports program, Marywood is responding to the ever-increasing number of students seeking this option, as the esports industry continues to explode throughout the country.
As Marywood’s director of esports, Paul is responsible for launching and growing a competitive and exciting program. Planning to introduce three initial games, including Overwatch, League of Legends, and Rocket League, Paul is also looking to add sports simulation games and other single-player titles if room allows.
Giving students a better experience is at the heart of introducing esports at Marywood. Paul said, “Giving students a better overall experience through cutting-edge technology, while also continuing to grow our campus in innovative ways, is the optimal goal. Esports is a great opportunity for students who want to compete, as well as for students who are interested in participating in other capacities, including communications and art. It’s interdisciplinary in so many different ways.”
A graduate of Marywood University, Paul made his first step into esports while he was a student at the University. Through a business plan competition, Paul developed a business plan for esports, marketed the plan, and presented it to an audience of business peers. From that point, he never lost his love of esports, and he used the business plan competition as a learning experience.
Paul explains that the esports program will be housed in the athletics department at Marywood University and will be treated as an athletic team that is eligible for all the benefits of other traditional sports, including conferences, nutritionists, athletic trainers, team apparel, etc. Additionally, Paul will develop summer camps/conference experiences to assist with developing a healthy community of athletes. “The health and well-being of student esports athletes is as important as any other physical sport player,” he said.
Floor plans for the facility in hand, Paul and a team of University experts are working with a consulting firm to blend function and practicality into an exciting state-of-the-art gaming center. He said, “We want function at its highest level first and to establish a good culture in which students can interact and be supported. Visiting students and those competing will have a powerful experience. I’m excited for students to see the facility.”
Paul understands that the sport of gaming is community oriented, and the esports community will be identical to other athletic teams with a strong team environment and atmosphere. Teammates will work and socialize together on other projects in gaming, including other competitions and charity marathons—whatever Marywood students are passionate about.
Realizing that any coach or director who expects their student athletes to perform well must be experienced in the field, Paul has been fortunate to have worked in esports long enough and hard enough to have tried nearly everything in the esports field, including functioning as a player, coach, administrator, manager, tournament organizer, caster, producer, observer, social media/marketing director, event lead, collegiate consultant, content creator, curriculum creator and coordinator, and more.
Patrick Murphy, director of athletics at Marywood University, said, “We are incredibly excited to welcome home Paul Capoccia as our esports director at Marywood University. Paul's experience, knowledge, regional contacts, and his passion and love for Marywood University make him the perfect fit for this position. Our esports program will be able to draw new and unique students, compete nationally, generate diverse revenue streams, and prepare our student-athletes for careers in the esports industry, because Paul understands how it’s done well, by knowing the industry inside and out."
A graduate of Marywood University, Paul earned his bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in mathematics, and he earned his master of arts degree in communication arts with a concentration in media management. Additionally, he is a current student of the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD).
Paul's association with Marywood goes back to his childhood. He grew up swimming in the facility that is now the Center for Architectural Studies, and he attended outdoor summer concerts on campus before he could walk. Paul said, “I knew where I wanted to go to college—it was never a question that I would attend Marywood, as it has always been home. I’m now excited for the opportunity to come home.”