Cottey College is pleased to announce the hiring of Mr. Bovey Zhang as the College’s first esports coach. Zhang will begin his duties with the College in March.

“We’re very pleased to have someone of Bovey’s caliber as our first esports coach,” said Landon Adams, vice president for student life. “His extensive network with other gamers, especially the women’s team he coaches, gives him an advantage in recruiting for the College.”

Zhang is the founder and owner of Flash Point Esports where he not only is in charge of operations and budget, but also in charge of community planning and negotiating sponsor and investment deals. Zhang also is the senior operations manager for Bestikas Esports, a Turkish women’s professional team. Zhang is the team manager and handles all players’ contracts and scouts opposing teams as well as future players. Zhang is the founder of the Ember Z Gaming Tournaments and has been a tournament manager for Victorious Gaming. Zhang earned a bachelor’s degree in business management information systems from Liberty University in Virginia.

One of Zhang’s first duties will be to recruit a team for the fall 2020 semester. The College, as previously announced in December, is constructing a stock trading room in the lower level of Hinkhouse Center which will also serve as the home of the Comets esports team.

The esports team will be the College’s seventh athletic offering. Esports, also known as electronic sports, is a form of competition using video games. Teams compete online in tournaments and matches. According to the Next College Student Athlete website (ncsasports.org), 175 colleges and universities are members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) and offer officially recognized varsity esports programs. Cottey, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), will offer scholarships to esports student athletes as is the case with other student athletes.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 45 percent of gamers are female. Super Data Research reports that women accounted for $44 billion in game sales in 2016, a figure that was projected to reach $118 billion by 2019. However, a much smaller percentage of college esports scholarships are going to females.

Like the financial industry, esports has typically been male dominated. However, virtual reality, as well as YouTube and Twitch gaming videos, have created a whole new dynamic and audience. These changes in the gaming space have been met with an influx of female gamers, a market that is expected to see considerable growth in the coming years.