Ball State University has hired Dan Marino as its new Director of Esports and Head Coach.
Marino begins his duties October 27. He comes to Ball State after spending the last year at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, where he developed and launched the collegiate program and served as head coach and director.
“Between our shared values and Ball State’s commitment to excellence in all areas, the decision to join the University was an easy one,” Marino said. “On a scale of 1-to-10, I’m at an 11. Both the University and I understand what college esports can and should be — a medium for student development. I sincerely cannot wait to join the team and get started.”
At Saint Rose, Marino also managed the design and development of an on-campus esports facility, while recruiting 27 esports students-competitors, including three former professional players, two domestic and one international.
Marino guided the Golden Knights to a Top 25 program nationally and multiple Top 10 conference finishes. As a coach, he managed five varsity rosters as well as the college esports club.
Before joining Saint Rose, he was founder and commissioner of Owlet Esports, leading a team of 25 staff and a community of 2,000 individuals to help develop skills in playing, coaching and broadcasting esports.
Ball State’s College of Communications, Information and Media (CCIM) serves as home for the new program, which will enhance academic offerings by bringing esports experiences into curricula across multiple disciplines — including digital sports production, business, computer sciences, animation and sport administration.
CCIM Dean Paaige Turner said she was immediately impressed with Marino’s vision for Ball State’s Esports program.
Ball State’s innovative, integrated approach “requires a director who understands the complexity of the rapidly expanding esports industry, commits to serving as coach, mentor and educator and possesses an entrepreneurial spirit to establish the program and venue,” Dean Turner said. “We are very fortunate to have found all of these qualities, and more, in Mr. Dan Marino.”
She was also impressed with Marino’s clear commitment to developing gaming skills and education that align with CCIM’s mission to offer “challenging educational experiences that prepare students for careers as ethical practitioners and scholars.”
Ball State’s new Esports team is one of 12 members of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) to join the newly created independent Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC). The conference fields teams in League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch divisions. ESC is an independent entity and operates separately from the MAC.
Marino called his vision for collegiate esports program at Ball State “a holistic one.”
“Giving students opportunities to participate in varsity esports through different disciplinary lenses is the key to building a strong and stable program. This will give students skills and experiences they can use both in class and out.”