Student Success

by | Mar 23, 2023, 4:55PM PDT

It’s crazy how time flies. UCI Esports is now in its seventh year, which means we’ve welcomed seven different classes of esports athletes into the Anteater family. During this time, we have had 82 athletes earn a spot on one of our team rosters. With some new data available to us, we are now able to look back and compare our esports competitors with the general UCI student body and note some interesting facts.

In this first glance at our brief history, we looked at all 17 esports athletes who were enrolled in 2016 or 2017. During the same time period, UCI had ~45,000 undergraduate students enrolled. As you can see in the graphic above, these first two classes of esports athletes have a 94% graduation rate (after 5 years), compared to 83% for their UCI peers. Looking at demographic data, 59% of our athletes were first generation college students compared to 49% for UCI overall, and 35% of esports students came from low-income families and 29% were underrepresented minorities.

Overall, esports athletes look very similar to the general population and are graduating at a rate that is uncommon in college esports. We are proud that UCI Esports exists at the intersection of elite competition and prestigious academics; our incredible students not only compete for championships, but they do so while successfully completing difficult degrees at a top-10, R1 public institution. 

Those are our numbers for our first two years. You may be curious to know what the future might look like as our sample size increases. I anticipate that our graduation rate will remain above 90%. Additionally, as our teams have shifted from majority walk-ons to primarily recruited athletes, I expect our numbers for first generation, low income, and underrepresented minorities to fall below the UCI averages. I see this as a challenge for collegiate esports more broadly and we will continue engaging with colleagues on the best ways to ensure that competitive opportunities are open and accessible to people from diverse backgrounds. 

Jumping forward into the next stage of their lives.

As our program reflects on what it means to be a collegiate esports program, we believe the academic success of our students should be at the top of the list of priorities and the first measurement of our success. As we mature as a community, I encourage all college esports directors to publicly share similar information on their athletes. Selecting a university is one of the most impactful decisions a young person will make.  As prospective students and parents  with their options, they should have this information available to them as they make this important decision. 

Lastly, I need to say a HUGE thank you to our staff and community (past and present) who encircle our students with love and support, enabling them to thrive academically, personally, socially, and professionally. It takes a village and I am very thankful to everyone who has played a role over the years with UCI Esports. THANK YOU!

Zot! Zot! Zot!

UCI Esports Player Rosters For 2022-2023

by | Dec 14, 2022, 10:13PM PDT

Between big roster changes and the addition of an entirely new varsity team, UCI Esports is hyped to present the collegiate players that will represent our organization in the coming tournaments this year! If you’ve been following us on social media, our teams have been teased in multiple posts over the past few months. In preparation for their respective national championships in January, we are excited to officially introduce our team rosters for the 2022-2023 academic year!


  • Coach – David “HermesTheTurtle” Tu 


  • TOP – Minh “Elated” Pham
  • JUNGLE – Mike “MikeYeung” Yeung
  • MID – Ben “CinnamonBread” Chang
  • ADC – Alex “Gorica” Gorica
  • SUPPORT – Brett “Lightpulse” Narkiewicz


  • TOP- Long “Gino” Do
  • JUNGLE – Sam “Glorias” Chen
  • MID – Donovin “Debounair” Boun
  • ADC –  Andrew “Misterdot” Liu
  • SUPPORT – Ryan “Sliggins” Gilson


  • COACH – Michael “TheRealThe” Kuhns
  • DPS – Michael “Excal” Kim
  • DPS – Cyrus “cyy” Buffington
  • DPS – Zuhair “Zeerocious” Taleb
  • TANK – Jonathan “Light” Chao
  • TANK – Sean “Romani” Cook
  • SUPPORT – Mitsutoshi “Supreme” Sato
  • SUPPORT – Dimitrios “Otters” Karanikas
  • SUPPORT – Bruno “KapGod” Moebest


  • COACH – Vishal Rohit “CurryShot” Nathani
  • DUELIST / IGL – Munkhdul “plat1num” Baterdene
  • INITIATOR – Ivan “Sylph” Tran
  • INITIATOR – Richie “Richie” Tran
  • INITIATOR – Fiona “fifi” Lin
  • SENTINEL – Bradley “Cowpie865” Lacy
  • CONTROLLER – Kyle “kyle” Tyni
  • FLEX – Kyle “fwlo” Van

The University of California Esports Initiative (UCEI)  is an ongoing esports partnership between the different UC campuses, and their biggest annual event is coming soon! The UCEI Invitationals presented by Xfinity is right around the corner- set for January 13th-15th- and will feature all the rosters you see above in their respective games! Be sure to tune in on our Twitch channel at when the time comes to watch our players duke it out against their rivaling UC counterparts!

UCI Esports Introduces Valorant Head Coach: CurryShot!

by | Nov 22, 2022, 11:37PM PDT

This year UCI Esports is proud to announce our very own Valorant team, the latest addition to our existing esports scholarship program! As excited as we were to venture into the inaugural collegiate Valorant season, we knew we needed a coach to do it right. Hence why we proudly present Rohit “CurryShot” Nathani as our latest hire as Valorant Head Coach! 

You may recognize CurryShot for his time coaching Overwatch as the former Strategic Coach from Mayhem Academy, Guangzhou Charge, and the Los Angeles Gladiators. More recently, CurryShot has been embracing Valorant and worked with multiple teams to find their footing in the fresh title.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to coach the UCI Valorant team. Valorant is a game I’m really passionate about and I think our team can go far this season. I can’t wait to get started and I want to cultivate a culture that’s healthy and brings wins. I want us to work hard to surpass expectations and thrive in this title like UCI does in all their titles.”

Rohit “CurryShot” Nathani

The season has already started and the UCI Esports’ Valorant team currently stands in the Top 16 in the Western Conference. Make sure to support Curryshot and the players by tuning in to our UCI Esports Twitch to watch our Valorant games on Saturdays at 3:00pm PT!

Community Engagement Coordinator: Jamel Hopkins!

by | Aug 1, 2022, 12:18PM PDT

Whether you’re sieging towers, rushing sites, or pushing payloads, it’s your teammates that largely determine the course of the game. The community with which you surround yourself with is central to the gaming experience, in-game and out. Therefore, it is with great excitement that we announce Jamel “Aespirin” Hopkins, former shoutcaster and student staffer, will be joining the program full-time as our first-ever Community Engagement Coordinator.

Jamel will play an essential role for the program by connecting UCI Esports to the greater gaming community. As a primary liaison of the program, they will help to encourage and foster relations with other gaming spaces of all scopes, high school students, local UCI clubs, UCI alumni, and the national college esports community as a whole.

“As we have evolved as a program and adjusted to a world with COVID-19, we see a tremendous opportunity to use games and esports to re-engage our communities as we come back together in person. Our new Community Coordinator will play a vital role, connecting us more closely with UCI clubs, high school students, and our local community.”

– Mark Deppe, UCI Esports Director

“I’m ecstatic for this opportunity to give back to UCI Esports and the gaming community! In stepping into the role, my goal is to make our program a central hub on campus for students to call home like I have for years. I want our arena to brighten campus. Every student should feel safe and welcome here. I want everyone on campus to come here and get to know us, know each other.”

– Jamel Hopkins, Community Engagement Coordinator

The establishment of this new position at UCI Esports marks an exciting venture in the program’s ongoing commitment to building bridges between our local campus community and beyond. We are more than excited to have Jamel on board once more and look forward to witnessing his continued impact on the program!