Press Release
Thomas College Expands Varsity Esports Program MacKenzie Riley Young | January 3, 2024
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WATERVILLE, MAINE, January 2024 — Thomas College is proud to announce the expansion of its varsity Esports program. Thanks to a generous grant from the Bill and Joan Alfond Family Foundation, Thomas College is planning to double the size of its Esports facilities and equipment, hiring additional coaching staff, and making more room for more Esports athletes to join.

Varsity Esports began at Thomas College five years ago and has grown in popularity here at Thomas and across the globe. The Esports roster at Thomas currently sits at 31 varsity student-athletes and is only continuing to grow.

“We’re so fortunate that the College and the Foundation invested in esports so early on, and we’re even more grateful that we can continue to provide this opportunity for more student-athletes,” said VP of Athletics Christopher Parsons.

Last year, Thomas Esports was able to move into a state-of-the-art arena in the newly constructed Sukeforth Family Sports Center.

Thomas College recently hired the school’s second full-time Esports Coach, Jonathan Middour. Middour will work hand in hand with Head Esports Coach Owen Vining, with the main goal of recruitment and additional game titles. Thomas College Esports currently supports game titles in Overwatch, Rocket League, and Valorant. 

The Valorant team at Thomas most recently competed and won their first ever NECC championship in the Emergents Northeast Division, and last month, for the first time, Thomas College hosted the Maine High School Esports State championships with assistance from Thomas College head coach Owen Vining.

“This year we had the opportunity to compete in our first ever NECC Championship,” said head coach Owen Vining. “After countless weeks of long hours practicing together as a team, refining our strategies, and improving our mechanics, we took a hard-fought win over New England College and secured the title. With a taste of victory, we will only get hungrier, and with the addition of Jonathan Middour, our second full-time Esports coach, we hope to bring more championship titles back to Thomas.”

Thomas College was the first college in Maine to have a varsity level Esports program and among the first in New England.

“My family and I are pleased to support the expansion of Thomas’ successful Esports program through a grant from our foundation. We hope that more Esports players from central Maine and beyond will come to Thomas to excel both academically and athletically,” said Bill Alfond, President of the Bill and Joan Alfond Family Foundation.

“Five years ago, it was Bill Alfond’s bold vision to bring Esports to Thomas. We immediately realized the tremendous opportunity this new varsity sport would provide to a whole new set of students –discipline, mentoring and the opportunity to develop the career ready skills employers seek including collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking,” said Thomas College President Laurie G. Lachance. “The College is extremely thankful for the Bill and Joan Alfond Family Foundation’s investment in both establishing and growing this highly successful and impactful sport.”

Learn more about Thomas College’s Esports program. 

About Thomas College:   

U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Thomas College as a top college in Maine for social mobility. Our clear career focus and one-of-a-kind Guaranteed Job Program™ makes it possible to advance faster in the arts and sciences, business, and education. Earn an undergraduate degree in three years and then choose from a variety of in-person or online graduate degree programs that can be completed in one-year or two. Located in Waterville, Maine, Thomas College is your pathway to a promising future, guaranteed. For more information, visit or contact MacKenzie Riley Young at [email protected] or 207-859-1313. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and TikTok