About Us

National Association of
Esports Coaches and Directors

The National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD – pronounced Nay-cad), founded in 2019, is the primary professional organization for competitive esports coaches and directors at all levels of competitive play (club, high school, college, and professional). The NAECAD mission is to serve, legitimize, and advance competitive esports at all levels with NAECAD members at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy, and professional development. The NAECAD vision is for esports to be viewed as a prominent competitive sport with highly trained NAECAD members leading the professional development, growth, and quality of competitive esports.

Our Core Values

Integrity

We set and demonstrate the highest standards for esports coaches and directors in the field and in our organization.

Service

We are knowledgeable, accessible, and provide professional development opportunities for esports coaches and directors.

Diversity

We value the diversity of our members and other stakeholders and are inclusive to all levels of competitive esports.

Influence

We represent a strong voice of the coaches and directors within esports, and the overall promotion of the industry.

Code of Ethics

First and foremost, the NAECAD strives to live out its core values and uphold sportsmanship and ethics to the highest degree. The NAECAD will always strive to make the profession of esports coaching and directing better and create the best situation possible for the coaches, directors, student-athletes, and fans and all involved in the competitive esports community.

Code of Ethics icon
Constitution and By-Laws icon

Constitution and
By-Laws

NAECAD’s constitution and the governing rules of the association. The constitution sets the standards for membership, committee and board service, and much more.

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NAECAD Staff

Jay Prescott headshot, NAECAD executive director
Dr. Jay Prescott, Executive Director

Jay is the Vice President for Student Affairs and Executive Director of the esports program at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. He helped launch the varsity esports program at Grand View in fall 2016. Jay is also the Executive Director of the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD). The NAECAD’s mission is to serve, legitimize, and advance competitive esports at all levels with NAECAD members at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy, and professional development. Jay has spent the last thirty years in education. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education from Westmar College, a Master of Science in Education from Drake University, and his doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Drake University. Jay also attended the Harvard Institute for Educational Management (IEM), Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Institute for Graduate Education in Cambridge, MA. Jay spent ten years as a high school teacher, guidance counselor and coach, eight years as a high school principal and the last sixteen years as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Grand View University.

Dr. Jason Bauer, NAECAD associate director
Dr. Jason Bauer, Associate Director

Dr. Jason Bauer is the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Director of Analytics and Assistant Executive Director of the esports program at Grand View University.  Jason brings an excellent combination of educational leadership, professional development, and coaching experience to NAECAD.  As a former Division I basketball plyer and coach, Jason has served in varying capacities developing athletes and coaching staffs.  He has a great passion for training and development.  He has been part of a team that develops mobile platforms to enhance teaching and learning in higher education and now brings that expertise to competitive esports.  He is the Associate Director of NAECAD and co-founder of Go Live Competition.

Advisory Committee

The members of the advisory committee represent a group of
enthusiastic and experienced leaders in competitive esports.

Justin Bragg, Purdue University Northwest
Justin Bragg headshot

Justin Bragg is currently the head coach at Purdue University Northwest and has been in this role since April of 2020. Before his time at PNW, he served as the head coach at Illinois College from 2017-2020.  Accomplishments in his time at both schools include a 9-2 record in a shortened 2019 College League of Legends season at Illinois College, a perfect 3-0 start to the College League of Legends season this year with PNW and serving on the advisory committee for the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors.  Justin's background in esports is as a League of Legends player.  He played in the challenger series for team Inertia for 1 split before transitioning to 1 on 1 coaching and eventually college coaching.  He has been a challenger player for 5 different seasons. Justin is a native of the Chicagoland area and graduated from the University of Illinois in 2014 with a degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism.

Shaun Byrne, St. Clair College
Shawn Byrne head shot

In January 2017, Shaun was hired by St. Clair College to act as Esports Coordinator. He is tasked with developing, implementing and managing a collegiate esports program at the college. This is a first of its kind collegiate program in Canada featuring seven separate esports teams with up to 40 players competing on scholarship for the school beginning in September 2017. In addition, his background in events management is being utilized to create Saints Gaming Live, a two-day annual esports event taking place at the St. Clair College SportsPlex along with several other smaller events held throughout the year.

Patrick Chou, OMEN by HP
Patrick Chou head shot

Cody Daniels, NGame Esports
Cody Daniels head shot

Cody graduated from Texas A&M University in 2013 with a degree in sports management. Cody started in NGame Esports in May 2019 with the focus in providing content and analytics to a diverse group of organization in gaming and esports. Cody has used his background in retail and sports to help lead all aspects at NGameEsports. NGame Esports is located in Houston, TX.

Toby Ebel, Baker University
Toby Ebel head shot

Callum Fletcher, United Service Organizations
Callum Fletcher head shot

Dr. David Hanan, Equinox Esports
Dr. David Hanan head shot

Dr. David Hanan serves as the Vice President of Operations at Equinox Esports in Oklahoma City where he manages all the day-to-day operations, facilitates leadership development within the company, and implements policies for process improvement. Equinox Esports is home of atop team North American VALORANT team and its mission is to cultivate esports athletes, produce quality content and elevate OklahomaCity through esports. Dr. Hanan received a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Missouri WesternState University, a Master’s degree from the Conservatory of Music at theUniversity of Missouri in Kansas City, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education degree from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Hanan is extremely active in the Esports ecosystem.

Ryan Hinds, Concordia University and Nebraska Schools Esports Association
Ryan Hinds family

Ryan Hinds is the first esports coach to be hired at Concordia University, Nebraska. Hinds graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He previously worked at Chief Agri in Kearney, Nebraska, as a design engineer. Before becoming Concordia's esports coach, Hinds and his wife, Amanda, started the esports team at Elm Creek High School, one of the first high school esports teams in Nebraska. He coached the Elm Creek team for three years while also helping create the Nebraska Schools eSport Association (NSeSA), a nonprofit organization that promotes esports in Nebraska high schools.Hinds was awarded the High School Coach of the Year by the National Association of Esport Coaches and Directors (NAECAD) in June of 2020. He was also elected the President of the NSeSA in 2019 and has served on their board of directors since 2018.

Victoria Horsley, RIOT Games
Victoria Horsley head shot

Victoria has over 10 years of sports and esports experience, from running local tournaments to managing amateur teams, to competing herself at the semi-pro and amateur levels. She eventually took a role as Director of Events and Marketing at the National Association of Collegiate Esports, responsible for communications, social media, and tournament administration for all schools within the association’s jurisdiction. From there, she was made President of the Unified Collegiate Esports Association and Founder of the UCEA Brand where she served for just over a year before stepping away this past January to pursue other options in the industry, eventually ending up with RIOT games.

Dana Hustedt, Florida Institute of Technology
Dana Hustedt head shot

Dana Hustedt was the first female collegiate esports director in the United States. Dana propelled Grand View University to national esports recognition from eight to fifty students over four years with nine program graduates and consecutive ESPN Top 20 Collegiate rankings. Dana is now the Director of Esports at Florida Tech Institute of Technology. Dana is has served as a NAECAD advisory committee member since its inception.

Steve Isaacs, Unreal Engine and EPIC Games
Steve Isaacs head shot

Josh Knutson, Gravity Gaming by ByteSpeed
Josh Knutson head shot

JoshKnutson is the Esports and VR Solutions Director for Bytespeed, LLC – aMoorhead, MN based IT Solutions Company. Josh got his start in esports back in2016 when he started the varsity level program at the University of Jamestown(ND) and served as its first Head Coach and Program Director for the next 3.5years. In his current role with Bytespeed, Josh serves as a resource, product specialist, and guide for customers looking to bring esports or virtual reality into their schools. Josh has been involved with NAECAD since its initial launch, and is currently an Advisory Board Member for the Association. Born and raised in rural North Dakota, Josh currently lives in Fargo.

Alex McNeil, Uni Esports
Alex McNeil head shot

Alex is a founder, educator, and advocate for mental health and wellbeing among students. Before founding Uni Esports, Alex ran a successful tutoring and academic mentorship business in the SF Bay Area. He holds an MA from San Francisco State, where he studied political theory. Alex’s interest in the political and economic landscape of public higher education in the US has fueled his work with Uni, where he leads research, product development, and data efforts.

Kurt Melcher, Intersport Global
Kurt Melcher head shot

Kurt Melcher is theExecutive Director, Gaming and Esports at Intersport. Through his efforts, RMU became the first university to recognize esports as part of the athletic department and offer athletic scholarships to gamers, helping to legitimize the world of collegiate esports. An athletic administrator for 15 years, Melcher recognized the core educational elements involved in traditional sports and believes the same hold true for esports.  Recently the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) has selected Kurt Melcher led Intersport Esports group to lead the research and ideation surrounding NCAA’s potential involvement in collegiate esports. The “Godfather” of University Esports visionary program has been highlighted in a number of prominent news sources including The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time magazine, The Chicago Tribune,Chicago Magazine, ESPN, NPR, HBO Real Sports and in the documentary film AllWork All Play.

James O'Hagan, The Academy of Esports
James O'Hagan head shot

James O'Hagan is a leader in connecting and promoting esports in education. He has had a role in starting and growing esports teams in two large urban school districts. He actively promotes esports as being a medium to something more for students beyond the games. His podcast, The Academy of Esports delves into topics surrounding esports and education and connecting into powerful ideas to increase student agency, motivation, and college and career pathways. James is a doctoral candidate at Northern Illinois University in the field of instructional technology and a mostly retired rugby player.

Joshua Pann, HP Inc.
Joshua Pann head shot

Josh is the Education Esports Specialist for HP Inc. Since joining HP Inc., Josh has led the charge into collegiate and K-12 esports. An avid lifelong gamer and hobbyist PC builder since the early days of Warcraft and Pentiums, he holds undergraduate degrees in economics and international relations from University of California, Davis and a Master of Arts in teaching from Relay GraduateSchool of Education in New York. Josh combines his experience as an educator with his knowledge of esports to help universities support new vibrant student communities on campus.

Nathan Ragsdell, Grand View University
Nathan Ragsdell head shot

Ragsdell pursued a path to professional ranks in Overwatch after graduating from the University of Nebraska - Omaha. Most recently, he served as the Esports Director and Head Coach at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. Notable successes include his League of Legends team's 2nd place and Overwatch's 1st place finish in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), culminating with an Overwatch 2nd place finish in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) national competition and competing in the TESPA national playoffs. Ragsdell now serves as the Director of Esports at Grand View University.

Kevin Reape, University of Missouri
Kevin Reape head shot

Kevin graduated from Mizzou in 2014 with a degree in business and began working full-time for the University of Missouri in the marketing offices of Student Affairs immediately after. In late 2018, Kevin had an opportunity to combine two things he loves, gaming and Mizzou, and began working on a plan to do collegiate esports at a level that hasn’t been seen yet. Once a Masters D.Va one-trick in Overwatch, Kevin now manages the Mizzou Esports program and plays Overwatch any chance he can get.

Chad Schonewill, Colorado College
Chad Schonewill head shot

Joshua Sides, Winthrop University
Joshua Sides head shot

Josh Sides began as the first-ever head coach for Winthrop esports on April 16, 2019. Sides has been an active member in the League of Legends community since its first competitive season in 2010, and has an extensive background in coaching and studying the meta-game of both League of Legends and Overwatch, two games that Winthrop eSports will initially play. Sides came to his new position at Winthrop after leading the varsity program at St. Ambrose University (IA), which he helped launch in 2018.  In the program's inaugural season, Sides led the Fighting Bees to third place finishes at the Harrisburg University Esports Invitational and the Acer League of Legends Invitational. Additionally, three of his players were invited to the Collegiate Esports Invitational All-Star Tournament in Chicago.

Derek Spinell, University of Mount Union
Derek Spinell head shot

Derek Spinell is the Director and Head Coach of Esports at the University of Mount Union. Spinell earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication technology from The Ohio State University. He joins the Mount Union community with over five years of esports industry experience. During his time at Ohio State, he held leadership roles in the Esports Initiative student organization. He was a part of the 2014 Riot Games Collegiate Summit in Santa Monica, California at Riot Games’ Headquarters, an event that brought together collegiate leaders to discuss the state of collegiate esports. He has also been an events contractor for Major League Gaming since 2013.

Mike Szostek, Olivet Nazarene University
Mike Szostek head shot

Mike is an Olivet alumnus (’15), Professor for the Department of Art and Digital Media, specializing in the Media Arts concentration, Director of Esports for Recreation Services, and System Administrator/Analyst for the IT Department. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Olivet, and a Master of Science degree in music technology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is also an Apple Teacher with Swift Playgrounds Recognition and an AVID-certified Pro Tools User. He is currently pursuing additional graduate work in game development, media design, and computer science.

Jeff White, National Junior College Athletic Association Esports
Jeff White head shot

Jeff White serves on the NJCAA National Office staff as the Vice President for Legal, Diversity, IT, & Resources. As the association's in-house legal counsel, White works with NJCAA National Office staff and Board of Regents members to review contracts, assist regions with legal needs, create and revise internal processes, manage association policies and procedures, analyze and evaluate the impact of legislation on the NJCAA and its members, and monitor Title IX compliance. Prior to joining the NJCAA National Office in February 2019, White spent three years as the Vice President of Student Experience and Human Resources and Director of Athletics at Hocking College, an NJCAA member school in Region XII. White also served as the Director of Human Resources at the Supreme Court of Ohio. In September 2019, the NJCAA announced the creation of NJCAA Esports, the national governing body for two-year college esports. Spearheading the creation and growth of the new association, White oversees all aspects of the operations as the Executive Director for NJCAA Esports.

MIke Dahle, Wisconsin High School Esports Association
Mike Dahle head shot

Shortly into his teaching career, a student gave a presentation on the League ofLegends World Championships and because of that presentation Mike’s life has snow balled into esports. As a lifelong gamer, he was fascinated with how much esports had grown since he first heard of it and decided he wanted to be a part of it. Mike’s school started competing in the Star League and was invited to aLAN tournament at Robert Morris University. This is where the idea of creating a statewide association began. It started the following year with 7 schools and in 4 years has grown to 100+ schools competing across the state. The WisconsinHigh School Esports Association, which Mike serves as President, has helped onboard most schools in our state, helped other states develop associations, and been considered for collegiate director positions across the Midwest.

Mark "Garvey" Candella, Twitch Student
Mark "Garvey" Candella head shot

The Twitch Student program was founded in early 2015 to foster sustainability and increase professionalism in esports by investing in education and students. We have a strong focus on education in Emerging, New and Digital Media through the medium of esports and gaming. This is a global program that works with national tournament organizers, student bodies, educational institutions and industry leaders to help ensure that Community, Competition and Careers are nurtured and supported in high schools and universities to create a brighter future for everyone.

Kevin Hoang, Twitch Student
Kevin Hoang head shot

The Twitch Student program was founded in early 2015 to foster sustainability and increase professionalism in esports by investing in education and students. We have a strong focus on education in Emerging, New and Digital Media through the medium of esports and gaming. This is a global program that works with national tournament organizers, student bodies, educational institutions and industry leaders to help ensure that Community, Competition and Careers are nurtured and supported in high schools and universities to create a brighter future for everyone.

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