Harrisburg University adds former pro to esports coaching staff
After a series of esports announcements last year, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has made another big move to kick off 2019.
The university recently hired a former professional Overwatch player to beef up its coaching staff for the school's team, the HU Storm. He is Giuseppe "Joemeister" Gramano, a former Overwatch player with the Philadelphia Fusion.
Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer video game. It is one of three current gaming titles in which Storm players compete. The other two are League of Legends, a multiplayer battle-arena video game, and Hearthstone, a video game involving collectible digital cards.
University President Eric Darr said Gramano's hiring should serve as a catalyst for the team's growing momentum. HU finished second in Overwatch and League of Legends at the inaugural HUE Festival in Harrisburg last fall.
"Adding an accomplished professional athlete will not only serve the performance of the players, but will also help us continue to push our program to the next level," Darr said.
Gramano's experience includes playing for teams like compLexity and FaZe Clan, and most recently the Philadelphia Fusion, one of 12 professional teams in the Overwatch League and official partner of the Harrisburg University Storm team.
He also was on Team Canada in the Overwatch World Championship in 2017.
HU expects more professional players will begin to make the transition to collegiate coaching as more schools join the competitive gaming scene. Many colleges across the country are in the process of building arenas and awarding scholarships to top gamers, while planning tournaments and other events to attract more viewers to esports.
The esports market is a budding billion-dollar industry with millions of competitive players and money pouring into professional esports leagues featuring franchise teams and sponsorship deals.