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STHM Student Receives Inaugural Esports Club Scholarship

By: Taylor Kay
First Published: November 22, 2021
Topics: Awards, STHM School, Student Stories

This fall Temple’s Main Campus Esports Club named Cole Murray the very first student recipient of a $2,500 esports scholarship. The club raised funds for the scholarship through its first esports 24-hour live streaming event, held collaboratively with Temple’s Japan Campus on April 17–18, 2021. The School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management’s (STHM) Sport Industry Research Center (SIRC) then matched those funds.

Murray is a junior sport and recreation student, better known by his gaming handle “Coliol,” who has played competitively on the Temple Rocket League team for the last two years and now serves as the team lead. He has been playing video games throughout his life and credits his drive for playing competitively from his rivalry with his brother over “bragging rights.”

When he first started at Temple, Murray was interested in entering a STEM field, however he couldn’t necessarily see himself with a career in math and sciences. But one thing remained prevalent in his life and drew him toward pursuing a degree in sport and recreation: Esports.

“I sat back and asked myself, ‘What am I legitimately passionate about?’ The clear answer was esports. When I heard of the esports management class, I jumped on the opportunity,” Murray says.

Professor Daniel Funk, chair of the Sport and Recreation Management Department, serves as the faculty advisor for the esports club. He notes that esports continues to grow in popularity and has considerable potential for teaching and research opportunities.

“Our department now offers four different esports courses, for students to learn business and managerial elements of esports,” Funk says. “All of the courses are taught by industry professionals and faculty.”

Murray’s career goal has now broadened and become mission-focused: he wants to help develop programs and opportunities to make esports more accessible for lower-income neighborhoods.

“I’d like to expand the reach of esports for those who can’t afford the high-entry cost of getting into esports,” he says. His vision includes community centers where people have access to equipment and coaching to learn about and develop skills related to esports.

“I’d like to share how people can make esports a viable career option, and inspire those of all ages to come together in this growing field—to connect and also grow as individuals,” said Murray.

“This is our first esports scholarship,” says Nadya Dereskavich, president of Temple’s Main Campus Esports Club. “Giving the scholarship to someone like Cole will have a positive impact on the esports community, both at Temple and in the city of Philadelphia.”

When it comes to the esports club, Murray is committed to helping develop the competitive Rocket League community on campus as well as growing the broader esports community. He hopes that a scholarship such as this is just the beginning of funding for esports players at Temple.

“A commitment to esports by Temple—like so many other schools around the nation—will help create extraordinary benefits and opportunities for students, Philly and the industry as a whole,” Murray says. His short term goal is to have a full-time coach or esport facility on campus.

Students interested in meeting Murray or joining the Temple esports club should feel free to come to meetings held every Thursday at 5:00 pm on the 3rd floor of the Charles Library.