Northwood University is excited to announce a new leadership team to oversee Northwood Esports, the nation’s first collegiate esports dynasty.
The University is tapping into Assistant Director Jacob R. Jacob to lead a new chapter in the program’s brief – but storied – history, which includes two world championships; 14 national titles; and 57 conference championships. Jacob will be assisted by Aden Frosch, a former Northwood Esports player who has served as team manager and content production lead over the last year. Both Frosch and Jacob are graduates of Northwood University.
“For the first time in program history, our esports coaching staff will consist entirely of Northwood alumni,” commented Dean of Student Affairs Andy Cripe. “Jacob and Aden are an ideal pair to continue the success that has been made since our program’s formation in 2019.”
Northwood University was one of the first colleges in Michigan to form a collegiate esports program. It is now considered the clear powerhouse collegiate esports program in the U.S.
Jacob has been integral in Northwood Esports, learning directly from Coach Elsen, who was voted Program Director and Coach of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Esports. Elsen is taking a break from esports coaching and has accepted a position that will take him out of state.
“I am confident Jacob is the right person to lead Northwood Esports into a new chapter of success,” Elsen said. “I couldn’t be happier for Jacob, Aden and our players — all of whom are very endeared toward Jacob. He was instrumental in recruiting our freshmen and sophomore classes, and he is beloved by our upperclassmen.”
Jacob said his priorities include continuing the program’s tradition of having players recruited by professional competitive esports teams. To date, seven Northwood Esports players have gone on to play professionally.
Jacob looks forward to leading the program with Frosch. In addition to being heavily involved in Northwood Esports, Frosch has served as operations director and community manager for Elevate, an esports organization dedicated to leading and innovating in player management, relationships with sponsors and partners, and setting a standard for professionalism in one of the largest-growing industries in the world.
“From growing up watching my father play in Counter Strike 1.6 and Quake tournaments, to now going to college and being involved with the industry in both the collegiate and professional sides, esports has always played a part in my life,” Frosch said. “I have learned how to manage diverse teams of people through Northwood Esports and how to build a community through my time with Elevate.”
Frosch currently is finishing his work on a master’s degree, and he was nominated in the “Collegiate Student Leader of the Year” Category of the Scholars Collegiate Gaming Awards. Winners were announced Nov. 28, and Northwood’s Valorant Team was voted 2023 Collegiate Team of the Year.
Esports encompasses numerous competitive games, similar to a university’s athletics department encompassing numerous traditional sports. So Valorant is to an esports program what football is to a university’s athletics program. The Valorant Team that was voted Team of the Year recently competed in the world championship, which was held in Istanbul, Turkey. In the game Rocket League, Northwood Esports has qualified to compete in the world championship later this summer.
“No one could have predicted the accomplishments Northwood Esports would make when the program was created four years ago,” Cripe stated. “It’s a testament to Northwood’s commitment to innovation, collaboration and excellence in education – in and outside of the esports arena.”
Northwood’s Esports Management Degree Program has been one of the fastest-growing degree programs at Northwood, where an estimated 150 students play esports, either competitively or recreationally.
“Northwood’s esports major promotes experiential knowledge through internships, practical experiences and projects in the esports industry. This dynamic program combines elements from various technological and digital disciplines to give students skills that are in high demand,” stated Dr. Kristin Stehouwer, provost and academic vice president. “So, Northwood’s esports success isn’t just evident in the world of competitive gaming; it’s in the achievement of our graduates who are working in the rapidly growing esports industry, which requires many of the traditional roles you see in other industry, such as accounting, finance, management, and event planning.”