Syracuse University bolsters esports programme with three new staff members

09 February 2024

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Syracuse University esports degree
Image credit: Syracuse University

Syracuse University, a private university located in New York, United States, has expanded its esports programme with three new hires: Nikita Bair, Sean Kelly and Travis Yang.

Bair will take over as Esports Program Manager, Kelly will act as Director of Production and Outreach and Yang has been appointed Director of Competition at the University.

Located in Syracuse, New York, the university has more than 22,000 students and is known for one of its alumni being current US President Joe Biden. The university first started a dedicated esports programme in 2023, with courses in esports business and management, esports communications, and esports media and design.

The new hires come from coaching, production and academic backgrounds, and are expected to lead their respective sectors to grow the university’s esports programme as a whole. New Esports Program Manager Nikita Bair worked at creating the first esports programme in New England at the Northeastern University in Boston. He also previously worked at Shenandoah University as an esports coordinator.

At Syracuse, he will be tasked with managing the esports programme, creating development opportunities for students, securing partnerships, internships and other duties.

Bair will be joined by Sean Kelly, the new Director of Production and Outreach, who worked on several high-profile esports projects including Overwatch event Calling All Heroes and Rocket League event Boost on the Beach.

Travis Yang, the new Director of Competition, comes from a coaching background. Yang worked as Assistant Coach at Ashland University and Head Esports Coach at Texas A&M University in San Antonio. Yang also worked as Director of Esports at Wichita State University.

Joey Gawrysiak, Executive Director of the esports communications and management degree programme at Syracuse University, COMMENTED: “We are fortunate enough to bring in some of the top talent, with the most experience in all of collegiate esports, to support the growth and expansion of the esports program here at Syracuse University.

“We will be able to offer a diverse set of programming across different areas of esports and gaming that no other university can offer. I can’t wait to get to work with this group of talented individuals so we can build an exciting and beneficial program for our current and future learners that truly goes beyond gaming.”

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.