Major kick-off of competitive Esports program and reinstating collegiate basketball coming
Posted Date: 4/20/23

This year and the next will be historic for Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, as the College announces energizing news for eSports lovers and a historic comeback for its collegiate men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Beginning with the 2023 fall semester, Ridge Runners will be able to take their love of gaming to the next level as PCCUA debuts its first ever competitive eSports teams on the DeWitt, Helena, and Stuttgart campuses. Esports is a team-based video gaming competition, where, as in traditional sports, players wear uniforms, have coaches, and are cheered on by their fans. PCCUA officials say the new eSports program will enhance the student experience for online gamers and competition among students who enjoy playing video games and want to compete on the college level. Team members will complete against other community colleges for winning titles.

In the fall of 2024, Phillips will reinstitute its basketball teams, following an extensive, year-long renovation of the college’s gymnasium, which was built in the late 1960s. Some preliminary work is already underway for the renovation project, which is expected to fully kick into gear this spring.  Phillips College had award-winning National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) competitive teams, which began in the late 1960s and ran through 1990. Like those teams, players will be recruited, and the new Ridge Runner teams will compete with other teams in the NJCAA.

In making the official announcement, PCCUA Chancellor Dr. Keith Pinchback said, “It’s an exciting time to be a Ridge Runner, and we can hardly wait to get these programs off the ground! Both of these programs will allow our students to have fun doing things they love, while they earn degrees and scholarships. It’s been 32 years since Phillips has had collegiate basketball teams, and we are pumped about bringing that back! These sports will give our Ridge Runners the opportunity to meet other students with similar interests and build networks through both of these programs, and we are very excited about that.”

Pinchback added that the College is making plans to grow its competitive sports programs and is looking to add other sports on its campuses in the new future, such as baseball, softball, or soccer.

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