February Newsletter 2021

February 22, 2021

Note From the Executive Director

Last week, Texas and other parts of the United States were hit by record cold temperatures and heavy snow. We hope our friends and fellow NAECAD members being affected by these conditions see relief as soon as possible.

NAECAD’s 4th Annual Coaches and Directors Clinic hosted by Grand View University and OMEN by HP is about a week away. We have had an excellent response to the clinic so far and I want to remind you to register as soon as possible. This is an amazing opportunity to learn from, and network with, the top leaders in competitive esports, both at the university and high school level.

The 45 plus sessions and keynote speakers have been announced and can be viewed by clicking the button below. Every session will be recorded, so if you can’t attend every session live, you will still be able to view each session after the clinic is finished. That is one benefit of a virtual clinic!

Learn More

We cannot wait to see everyone on March 3rd. This clinic will be one of the premiere esports clinics in 2021. We hope everyone is safe, healthy, and able to join us.

Be well,
Jay Prescott
Executive Director, NAECAD

NAECAD-RP Partner Highlight

About Gravity Gaming by ByteSpeed

We realize that the task of running an esports program can be daunting, and that a great network of people to reach out to, and solid, accessible training, can make a world of difference in the long-term success of your program. That is why NAECAD has partnered with ByteSpeed and Microsoft to offer scholarships for new esports coaches and directors to join the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD).

ByteSpeed and Microsoft are offering scholarships that include a free NAECAD membership for the 2020-2021 school year, plus 10 online coaching sessions to become NAECAD Level 1 Certified, an overall value of $450. Contact Josh Knudsen at ByteSpeed jknutson@bytespeed.com to find out how you can benefit from this partnership. Or if you know an esports coach or director of a new esports program at a high school or college have them contact ByteSpeed to take advantage of a scholarship that will help them lead their program successfully.

Visit their website - https://www.bytespeed.com/gravitygaming/

December Player of the Month Award Winners

Each month, players are nominated by NAECAD members only and are voted on by the NAECAD Advisory Committee coaches and directors. We are happy to announce that Justin Parent of St. Clair College, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, has been named the college NAECAD Player of the Month for December 2020. Samuel Curtis of Guilford High School, Guilford, CT, has been named the high school NAECAD Player of the Month for December 2020.

Read more here - https://naecad.org/december-player-of-the-month-award-presented-by-naecad/

December Player of the Month Interview

Justin Parent

Okay first and foremost, tell us how you got into gaming and esports?

“I’ve been playing video games probably since I was 6-7 years old. For me it started by just playing sports games like NHL and Madden against my dad on the PlayStation 2. We would play those games all the time and every single time I just really wanted to beat him. When I lost, I was a sore loser, and when I won, I was a very cocky winner. Those traits have definitely stuck with me throughout my life and is a big reason as to why I loved playing video games and continue to get better. I got into esports during the 2013 Call of Duty Championships on Black Ops 2. I had randomly found the tournament live stream on the Xbox 360 dashboard and the first match I watched featured OpTic Gaming and I got hooked right away. So, from there on out I continued to keep up with competitive Call of Duty while also trying to better myself as a player. I grinded league play on Black Ops 2 and played GameBattles with my friends.”

That’s awesome because I used to play my dad in Madden 08 all the time and is how I got started with gaming as well! I was always super butt hurt when he beat me too. To this day I think Madden 08 is the GOAT! Okay second question: You play games for St. Clair, what do you like most about the program?

“What I like most about the program is definitely the individuals in it and the sense of community it brings. I was a first-year student at St. Clair when I came onto the club team last year and it gave me a really good opportunity to meet some new people and form some really good friendships. Even if you don’t play that specific esport, everyone supports each other in the live streams and in our Discord when we play and it’s a great feeling. To sum it up, everyone at St. Clair just wants each other to succeed and it truly creates a great environment.”

That’s good to hear because St. Clair gets great support so I’m glad the internal environment reflects that. What is one of the highlight of your esports career so far?

“I would say it was during the TESPA collegiate playoffs 4 to 5 months ago when we got 5th. Obviously, we didn’t win the tournament but what made it one of my highlights is that it was the highest we placed as a squad so far. At the time I was just really happy with the improvements we made from the start of that year where we barely made the CCL playoffs, to the end [of the year] where we were competing with some really good teams for prize money. Playing those top teams in that tournament also gave us the opportunity to see where our skill was against both of the really good Ottawa University squads. One of those teams featured players like “Noysi” who had really good success in the challengers  scene for Call of Duty so going up against an established player like that helped us get better and set expectations for our team going forward.”

5th is solid in the TESPA league so congrats! It's good to hear that you're looking at each opportunity to build as a team rather than just worrying about yourself. Okay last question: What are you looking forward to the rest of the season and do you have any esports related plans beyond college?

“I’m just looking forward to building upon our 4-0 start in the CCL. We have some really good matches coming up in the next couple weeks against some highly rated teams so I’m excited for the opportunity to prove some doubters wrong as a team while also hopefully getting some individual recognition to go along with it. As of right now I don’t have any plans for esports after my post-secondary education. Call of Duty is a really competitive game with a lot of good players, so my expectations are pretty low regarding opportunities that are out there. That may change in the future but as of right now I’m just taking it day by day and having fun with my teammates while trying to bring success and recognition to St. Clair.”

Program Highlight

Hawkeye Community College

Hawkeye Community College located in Waterloo, Iowa is now in their 3rd year of having an esports program. They have a roster of 50 student athletes across four different games including League of Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege, and Rocket League. They also have an assistant coach and production crew. Billy Howard is the head coach and said, “We are sponsored by MSI and have 17 high end gaming computers with a dedicated fiber line for our esports arena.”

Howard has been a head coach in the college esports scene since 2014, starting off in League of Legends, but is now with Hawkeye Community College. He said, “My repertoire has expanded to bring in the other three games, and we have had an extremely high level of success across all games. We are currently in first place in the NJCAAE for Rainbow 6 Siege, Overwatch, and Rocket League. Our League of Legends team finished 3rd overall in the North Conference for College League of Legends this Fall, receiving a bid to the national playoffs. Additionally, our Overwatch team became the first ever community college to qualify for the 2020 TESPA Varsity Invitational. My responsibilities as a head coach are more of that of a director than a coach, as I oversee the entire program in terms of scheduling, registration, eligibility, and budgetary decisions. [This is] in addition to player development, practice regimens, scrim scheduling, and game-day readiness for our players.”

Aside from the spotlight, Hawkeye Community College esports has its challenges just like any other program. Howard went on to mention, “A challenge we face is really just our overall expansion, as we are limited on space and constantly have players in and out of our arena. So, the answer to that is just 100% dedication to our scheduling, ensuring players are here early, ready to go day in and day out. Additionally, with COVID-19, we've seen an increase in player responsibility in terms of the health and safety of all 50 students on our roster, following strict cleaning protocols and filling out a daily health screening to ensure we are staying healthy and protecting each other. Our students have embraced the challenge full on and have done a tremendous job of doing their part to stop the spread.”

Given the dedication, we had to ask about what a normal week looks like for Howard and the Hawkeye CC esports program, “A normal week within our program is anything but normal. We usually receive our weekly opponents for all tournaments on Sunday afternoon, so my assistant coach and I do an in-depth scouting report on each opponent for the week (usually around 18-25 games, depending on what tournaments we are enrolled in). After that is completed, we usually run 3 games per day and 2 practices with all students adhering to a very strict schedule that allows us to maximize space and usage given our limited resources. Practices range from individual development, to team scrims, to VOD review. Work that in with grade checks, study tables, as well as other miscellaneous projects, and our calendars fill up very quickly each week!”

Howard concluded by saying, “Looking to the future, we really want to expand our production efforts and model them after Boise State given their incredible broadcasts. We also want to continue to have success at all levels of gameplay, from NJCAAE to TESPA, College League of Legends and College Rocket League. My goal is to build teams that can take down the powerhouses such as Maryville and Harrisburg, all while giving student-athletes an incredibly affordable education they can take with them into the future!”

NAECAD Certification Program (NAECAD-CP)

We have gotten lots of good feedback regarding the NAECAD-CP. As a reminder, every session of our 4th Annual Coaches and Directors Virtual Clinic will be recorded and available to all clinic participants after March 5. NAECAD members will get to see the recorded version of every session presented at the clinic.

NAECAD Clinic Zoom Background (4)

4th Annual NAECAD Clinic, Hosted by Grand View University and OMEN by HP

The 4th Annual NAECAD Clinic, Hosted by Grand View University, and OMEN by HP will be held virtually on March 3-5, 2021.  Please save the date and make plans now to register for this annual gathering to learn from the top coaches and directors in the country. This clinic will have over 45 sessions to help those that are just beginning a program to those that have well established programs at both the high school and university level.

Trivia Question of the Month (Members Only)

The first member to @TheNAECAD on Twitter with the correct answer will win a FREE Visa gift card!

The Question: In direct competition to Dota 2, the World Championships of League of Legends started World Championships in 2011. What trophy is won by the champion team?

a) The League Trophy
b) The Aegis of Immortals
c) The Summoner's Cup
d) The Golden Chalice

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