Sophia Timba | August 21, 2023
Sport Management major uses his education and gaming experience to revitalize a competitive esports club.
Truman Benz has tripled the size of the Esports Club, building it up from zero competitive teams to six. And according to him, it’s no different than managing any other sport.
“Everything I learn in sports management can transfer to esports,” Benz said. “You have marketing, PR, player management, facility management is a big one. I’ve had multiple professors talk about esports in class without me even bringing it up.”
Like most teenagers, Benz liked to play video games in high school as a way to relax and have fun with friends. He never imagined it was something he might pursue as a career.
“I played sports and then I would play video games in my free time, but it was more like a hobby and sports was the main thing,” Benz said.
When it came time for college, Benz enrolled at Monroe Community College (MCC) as a History Education major. However, he found his calling when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sending all classes online and halting in-person athletics.
“Enrollment was down, so the athletics program decided to start an esports team, and the athletic director needed help,” recalled Benz.
While he continued to work on his associate’s degree, Benz took over operations of esports at MCC while competing on the Call of Duty team.
Benz transferred to SUNY Brockport to finish his bachelor’s degree in History Education and joined the Esports Club as their Vice President. He quickly realized his passion wasn’t in education and switched his major to sports management.
Benz first initiative was to get the club off the ground — literally.
“We were in the basement, in a concrete room with no windows. There was a pile of random storage on one side of the room, and we had wires running across the whole floor,” Benz said. “I pretty much explained to them that if we don’t get this kicked up into gear, this club won’t exist in two years.”
The club moved upstairs into their new, state-of-the-art space, increasing recruitment and fueling their first competitive team.
“I’m a believer that there’s something in this club for everybody.”
“People would just walk in and I’d say,
‘Do you play Call of Duty?’
‘Congrats you’re on the team!’” he joked.
As the current President of the Esports Club, Benz uses the skills and knowledge he’s gained over his years of experience, as well as the expertise learned from his sports management professors, to run club activities, organize their six teams, and participate in competitions. He encourages anyone to join the Esports Club whether they’re lifelong gamers, play casually, or have never even picked up a controller. In addition to their competitive players, most members choose to play recreationally.
“Anyone can play. Even if you don’t think you’re that good, there are players here who will help you get better,” Benz said. “I’m a believer that there’s something in this club for everybody.”