NKU ESports names new program director

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

More by....

Northern Kentucky University has found a new director for its ESports program.

Shanda Harris has been announced as the ESports Professor of Practice in the Haile College of Business and Director of NKU ESports.

“I am very excited to come back to NKU and be a part of an amazing program,” Harris said, “We have a great varsity program with very skilled and talented players. I am looking forward to continuing building the program and launching an Esports minor to serve students who want to pursue Esports as a career.” 

Harris is a graduate of the NKU Haile College of Business with a degree in sports business, and a master’s in legal studies from the Chase College of Law. Harris joins Dr. Jim Buss, the founder of NKU ESports and current general manager of the program.

NKU Esports has made strides in developing a varsity program, the announcement said. Since fielding a three-person team in Rocket League during the fall 2020 season. The varsity program has now grown to include five different game titles and more than 25 varsity players.

In Harris’s new role, she will split time between directing the varsity program and teaching students about the business of ESports.

Harris began her journey in ESports when she helped develop Game Day Esports, a Cincinnati Esports organization. 

Harris and her colleague Hannah Mullins, another NKU alumna, were tasked with building a program when Game Day PR CEO Jackie Reau approached them with an idea. Together, they developed a program that provided gamers with opportunities to showcase their talents. 

Harris and Mullins connected local businesses with the Esports industry through consultations, sponsorships, fundraisers and tournaments. Prior to leaving Game Day Communications, Harris helped develop and design the name and logo for the Cincinnati Fear — a professional Esports team in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Related:  Wednesday NKY sports round-up: Holy Cross volleyball claims All "A" 9th Region crown

“NKU Esports has come a long way since three students competed on behalf of the university in the fall of 2020,” said Dr. Buss. “Back then, students competed from their own homes, and we literally broadcast our matches from the basement of a shoutcaster’s house. Today, we have a highly competitive program, teams of students involved in broadcasting from our on-campus studio, and an academic minor that will provide students with the skills necessary to become employed in this industry.”

The NKU Esports began in 2020 after students and staff received a $75,000 grant through the NKU’s Innovation Challenge. That grant helped build “The Sandbox,” which serves as the home arena for the program.

NKU Esports will compete this fall in Rocket League, League of Legends, Overwatch, Valorant, and Fortnite. The program is a member of Esports Collegiate, the National Association of Collegiate Esports, and the National Esports Collegiate Conference.

More articles

Latest articles

In Case You Missed It