Maryville Esports Student-Athletes Turn Pro

Maryville University is saying goodbye to two members of its League of Legends Esports Team as they start the next chapter of their careers by playing for a professional organization.

Aiden “Niles” Tidwell and Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson join the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) roster for the Golden Guardians, an esports affiliate of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. They are the first players to turn professional from the Maryville Esports Program.

“Playing for a pro organization is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Tanner “Zeu” Deegan, head coach for Maryville’s League of Legends Esports team. “We’re proud to have made a positive impact in their progression towards pro play, and it provides us with a bit of reassurance that we’re on the right path, and doing our jobs well. I’m looking forward to seeing how we grow the Maryville program in the future.”

Tidwell and Wilkinson helped Maryville earn several major titles including the 2019 and 2020 Harrisburg University Esports (HUE) Invitational titles, one of the largest collegiate esports events in the U.S.

Tidwell also helped Maryville secure the 2019 League of Legends Collegiate Championship, the team’s third collegiate national championship in four years. The Saints also won in 2016 and 2017.

“I would like to thank everyone at Maryville for giving me the opportunity to grow,” Tidwell said. “Before coming here, I was lost and didn’t know what I wanted to do.” He credits his teammates for helping him develop as a player, garnering the attention of several professional teams before he was selected by the Golden Guardians.

“The people I met at Maryville have been the largest contributing factor to where I am right now, especially Andrew ‘CKG’ Smith who challenged me the most,” he said. Smith is the former captain of Maryville’s League of Legends Esports team and currently serves as Maryville’s assistant director of esports where he focuses on player growth and management of the program.

Wilkinson also stressed how Maryville’s team dynamic is an important part of their winning strategy. “We are all really good friends and have a lot of fun together, and I find that takes off a lot of the pressure so everyone can perform their best,” he said.

While Wilkinson will miss playing for Maryville, he looks forward to competing on the professional level — especially with a fellow Saint by his side. “It feels good to go pro with one of my teammates,” he said. “It’s someone I can vent to and someone I can have fun with. We’ve already created a relationship here at Maryville, so it will be nice to be in the LCS together.”

Send this to a friend