Esports team announces Carl Leone as head coach

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Courtesy of Oakland University Athletics

Carl Leone will coach the new varsity Esports team.

Michael Pearce, Sports Editor

Four months after announcing esports as a varsity sport, Oakland University Athletics has found the coach who will lead the new team.

On Monday, March 30, it was announced that Carl Leone would serve as the coach of the varsity esports team at OU.

“I am thrilled to be a part of Oakland University’s inaugural esports program,” Leone said in the official announcement from University Athletics. “I am honored to be able to apply my knowledge of esports to support future student-athletes.”

Leone was the League of Legends coach at Aquinas College for one year before accepting the head coach job at OU. League of Legends is one of the three games that the esports team will compete in, along with Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers.

When the institution of the esports team was first announced, Athletic Director Steve Waterfield talked about what he saw in his kids, which illuminated him to the rise of esports as a part of everyday life.

“They watch YouTube videos of other people playing video games,” Waterfield said. “Once I realized that their population and other generations are interested in that, it confirmed my initial thoughts because I saw it every day in our house … sometimes too much.”

Before coaching at Aquinas, Leone worked at Robert Morris University as an assistant esports coach. At Robert Morris, he worked closely with students, creating personal improvement plans as well as doing analytic work and social media posting.

Leone is a Michigan native and earned his business administration degree from Robert Morris in 2018. While at Robert Morris, Leone was also a League of Legends competitor.

“I am very happy to welcome Carl to the Golden Grizzlies Athletics Department family and to have him serve as the first head coach in Oakland University varsity esports history,” Waterfield said in the announcement. “Carl brings experiences as a collegiate gamer and coach, which will prove valuable as he leads the esports team.”

On Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, OU held an announcement regarding its partnership with the Detroit Renegades to bring esports to OU as a varsity sport.

The Renegades, a professional esports team based in Detroit, will be providing the infrastructure and expertise to assist the university in growing the varsity and club teams.

The partnership with The Renegades is something unique to OU esports. The team will use the facilities based at GameTime in Auburn Hills.

No announcement has been made regarding the members of the esports team, but in December, Waterfield indicated that the makeup of the team would be determined after finding a head coach.