CCHS eSports gets VSU's attention

Valdosta State University representatives talk with both eSport coaches during practice last week. From left are Brian Haugabrook, VSU chief information officer; Vince Miller, VSU vice president of student affairs; Zduy Chu, VSU director of housing; and Colquitt County High School eSports coaches Bobby Stinson and Ashley Hodge.

MOULTRIE, Ga. — What seemed like a regular practice for the players of the Colquitt County eSports team last week turned out to be something more. During practice the team members were greeted by visitors that observed them.

The visitors turned out to be representatives from Valdosta State University who came to see first-hand the new program that has been garnering national attention.

eSports coach Ashley Hodge, a two-time graduate of VSU, invited the school representatives, and she said she hopes they can build something out of this pairing.

“I contacted the director of student life and I told them about other colleges and how it’s a college level to eSports and how these children need a place to go to use these skills,” Hodge said, “so we want someplace local that they can go to school and I think this would help build our program.”

Vince Miller, vice president of student affairs of Valdosta State, said he was blown away at the amount of participation this program has and he was jubilant that they made the drive here to see the eSports team.

“We received an invitation from coach Hodge, She is a two-time alum and she wanted to reach out and brag on the success of these students,” Miller said. “It was something that caught my attention because I didn’t know anything about eSports, but it was something as an institution we felt like if a lot of these students are participating in this kind of activity, do we as an institution need to think about this as we think about the types of things we offer on a college campus. We wanted to come to lay eyes on it and see what they are doing. I'm sure we will have a good conversation on the drive back to see if there is an opportunity to do something like this at Valdosta State.”

Coach Bobby Stinson, also a Valdosta State alumnus, thinks the university just coming to look at the program is big. He said he thinks Valdosta State would be a great school to host a eSports program.

“I think this is huge for the program because a lot of the students here will probably end up at Valdosta State, and it’s nothing wrong with that because it’s a great school,” Stinson said. “I think it’s big that they want to get involved and have a program as we have here so our students have another avenue to get to college.”

It would be a big moment for the students of Colquitt County if Valdosta State does choose to move forward with the creation of a eSports program, the coaches said, but that decision won’t be coming any time soon. Until then coaches Hodge and Stinson and the eSports team will continue to stay hard at work preparing for the next season and beyond.

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