January Newsletter 2021

January 18, 2021

Note from the Executive Director

What a year! With the start of the new year, we want to take the time to thank you for all your hard work. Being a leader is not easy, especially during the challenges that made up 2020. With that said, we are proud of everyone for stepping up and being there for those in and around your esports programs.

NAECAD saw tremendous growth and success in 2020 as esports coaches and directors at high schools and universities around the country started to advance their sport and took advantage of all the professional development opportunities provided by NAECAD.

We believe 2021 is going to present even more opportunities to grow and learn together. We are excited to open registration for the 4th Annual NAECAD Coaches and Directors Clinic, held virtually on March 3-5, hosted by NAECAD, Grand View University, and Omen by HP.

Get more information on the clinics 45+ sessions and register by clicking the button below:

Learn More

We hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter in learning about our amazing members, the student athletes and the programs they lead! Let’s do something special in 2021!

All the best,

Jay Prescott
Executive Director, NAECAD

NAECAD-RP Partner Highlight

About NGame Esports

NGame Esports is a proud partner of NAECAD. NGame Esports is a media company dedicated to providing content and data to esports programs. NGame can help esports programs create animated explainer videos for students, parents, and the community. NGame can also help esports programs grow sponsorship dollars by providing streaming analytics from the major platforms. NGame can provide team specific streaming analytics, tournament streaming analytics, and much more.

Check NGame Esports out here -  https://ngame-esports.com/

November 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 Chris Winkel of Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, OK, has been named the college NAECAD Player of the Month for November 2020. Peter Heroux of Saint John's Preparatory School, Stearns County, MN, has been named the high school NAECAD Player of the Month for November 2020 the NAECAD national office announced Friday.

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

November Player of the Month Interviews

Chris Winkel - Oklahoma City University

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

“My childhood friend was the one who got me into video games like Sly Cooper or Kingdom hearts on the PS2. Then, he showed me Call of Duty around 2010. I first got into esports with my middle school and high school friends playing Call of Duty tournaments online, and one year, I hosted a LAN tournament in my house with 20 or more guys from my high school. Overwatch was my first major introduction to mainstream esports with the OWL, and I tried playing OW and Fortnite competitively on and off for 3-4 years.”

The PS2 was my first system so I know the nostalgia you're talking about! And that’s awesome you put together that tournament, I bet it was a blast! That’s future esports coach material! Okay second question: What do you like most about Oklahoma City University’s esports program?

“The best part about playing for the university is you get to know all of your teammates in person. Most of the time, if you make a team for esports, 99% of your interaction with them will be in game. On the school team, I knew and became good friends with each of them personally and that made the season way more rewarding.”

That’s awesome! If you are good at something why not go all in right? What is one of the highlights of your esports career so far?

“My highlight would have to be playing the Tespa playoff bracket in the Equinox studio with my teammates. Being together for those tense matches was a lot of fun.”

Sweet that’s hype! Okay last question: What are you looking forward to the rest of the season and do you have any esports related plans beyond college?

“For the rest of the season, I'm looking forward to competing in Cold War and proving myself as a top player. Beyond college, my goal is to compete professionally, but I would also love to work under an esports organization such as 100 Thieves or Envy.”

Peter Heroux - Saint John's Preparatory School

Okay first question: How did you get into gaming and esports?

"I got into gaming through playing causal games with my family members like Mario Kart and such. However, I only began familiarizing myself with esports when I started to play rocket league. Watching the different teams compete always had me at my toes. The excitement of the games is what made me a fam of the esports scene."

Mario Kart on Wii is the best especially if you have the wheel to go with it! And yes the shout casters do a great job of engaging audiences especially with a fast paced game like RL! Okay second question: What do you like most about the esports program at Saint John's?

"The esports program here at St. John’s is amazing. What I like most about it is the community. People within and outside of the esports team are very supportive. We come to each other’s matches and we cheer each other on."

That’s awesome! Chris, our college Player of the Month, was talking about how his team in person is way closer and better than his online only teams. What is one of the highlights of your esports career so far?

"Some of my greatest highlights from playing esports come from seeing my teammates and I improve and grow closer over the season. Watching us gain synergy and consistency amongst each other’s play styles is really awesome to see."

Well said I know exactly what you mean! It’s satisfying to see all of the teams work pay off. Okay last question: What are you looking forward to the rest of the season and do you have any esports related plans beyond high school?

"I am looking forward to seeing the growth of esports at Saint Johns. Each season the esports scene is expanding to new games and players. It’s great to find people with common interests and passions. As for college, I plan to continue playing whether it be in a collegiate league or a more casual one."

Nice, yes esports keeps growing bigger and bigger! What games would you like to see offered and do you have a specific college in mind that you’d like to attend for esports?

"No, I don’t have any specific college in mind yet. For a new esports game, maybe Mario Kart Wii, haha. It’s a small group of players who still play it though."

Nice Peter, well hey, hopefully they add Mario Kart cause I’d be watching that on Twitch all day, lol. But thanks for answering all of my questions! Is there anything else you want to add?

"A shoutout to my coach, Mr. Miller, and my teammates for providing me with these opportunities. Thanks for the interview and award!"

Program Highlight

Mariemont High School

Mariemont High School is located in Cincinnati, Ohio and is directed by Nathan Eten. Mariemont started the program in 2019 and are in their second year. Currently, they have 12 stations set up in their brand new esports lab for all 28 of their players. Mariemont’s varsity team participates in three games.

Etens day to day role includes director, coach, coordinator, stream, and social media manager. He said, “From the beginning, I researched which gaming computers to have in our lab, found a league to participate in, and advocate for esports at the high school level as much as I can. I’m the student recruiter, practice scheduler, mentor, coach, Twitch stream manager, shoutcast technician, social media manager, and public relations manager. On a regular day, you can find me scrolling through Discord communicating with the coaches of our next match in Rocket League, Smash Bros, and Overwatch. I organize and confirm the starting lineups, text with students to make sure they’re able to be at a given match, moderate our Discord channel, and submit final match results if we win. Another person who has given a lot of time to our program, but is not necessarily a staff person is Gene, our local IT guru. He is vitally important to our program as a computer tech specialist and avid gamer. He sets up all our PCs and ensures they are all operating optimally, fixes any network issues and assists with streaming.”

One challenge the Mariemont program has had to overcome came at the beginning of the season this year. They moved into a new school and were given a new space for their esports program. Eten said, “It was a fantastic upgrade, but with COVID-19 I felt really behind and unorganized when the school year and season started. I had so much to do to get the lab ready, keep stations distanced, make sure everything was game ready, and rally the students who may or may not be coming into school on a daily basis because some elected to be remote students to start the year. It has been more challenging to manage teams when some players are at school every day and some you don’t get to see at all. We are almost at the end of our Fall season and I feel like I’ve just got into a groove with the protocols, duties I have to perform, and making sure our matches go off without a hitch. It has been stressful at times, but our students and supporters have helped a lot.”

A normal week at Mariemont includes Overwatch practice on Monday. It’s their most popular game with about 18 students who play. They currently have two teams and one in the making. Eten said, “I start to communicate with the coaches of the teams we play that week and try to get a start time set for each of our matches.”  

Tuesdays are Overwatch game days. Eten said, “I make sure our captains communicate with the other team’s captain via Discord and have everything set up for the matches to start on time by 4:00 PM. I deal with any last-minute player drops and changes to the starting lineups. Once the games start I stream our Varsity match on Twitch and spectate the match. After the match, I’ll talk to our team, encourage them, and if we win, enter a Google form to tell the league we won for record-keeping.”

Wednesdays are reserved for Rocket League and Super Smash Bros. Both of Mariemont's teams get their matches set up and running by 4:00 PM. Eten goes on to mention, “We stream and shout cast our Rocket League matches, so beforehand, I set up the audio mixer, OBS, and Twitch to get our commentators ready. We have each player’s computer feed into a separate room where the student shout casters are. It’s a busy hour and a half, but a lot of fun for our students. I love watching our students compete and love seeing the smiles on their faces when they win."

Given the busy first three days, Mariemont’s esports program is a bit slower on Thursday and Friday. Eten said he uses the time to get ready for the next week and tie up any loose ends, “I’ll do some program development. Recently, I bought stickers and a large room decal with our new custom logo.”

In the future, Mariemont is in the hunt and hopes to be division champions in the Esports Ohio League. The program is growing and being talked about amongst the other students at the school. Eten said, “Our players are being recognized and I hope that continues. There is a lot of potential for our program and I want to keep the momentum going. I want to learn more about coaching the teams, best practices in program management, and assist those who want to pursue playing esports in college. I’d love to continue to build the program and eventually add more teams and games as we grow. In just two years, I feel we have accomplished so much. I can’t wait to see what the next two bring.”

New Sessions in the NAECAD Certification Program (NAECAD-CP)

Community Engagement and Developing an Esports Ecosystem by Cody Daniels

Developing a successful collegiate esports ecosystem is a complicated endeavor involving both the campus and the community around it. To get a better idea of how something like this would come to fruition, Cody Daniels, Founder & CEO of NGame Esports, recently interviewed Erich Bao and Kevin O’Brien. Bao is the founder & CEO of GGLeagues, while O’Brien is the Chief Operating Officer.

Developing a Content Strategy for Your Esports Program by Cody Daniels

NGame Esports has partnered with NAECAD and Collegiate Starleague to create a video outlining several key topics that should help you develop a content strategy for your esports program. NAECAD is the primary professional organization for competitive esports coaches and directors at all competitive play levels. Collegiate Starleague is the largest esports platform for leagues across many games and platforms for players of all skill levels. We have combined these two organizations’ knowledge into three topics: the importance of a content strategy, identifying what the content strategy is for, and the critical elements of a content strategy.

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

NAECAD Clinic (2)

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 40 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.

Learn More

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: How many teams are in the NBA 2K League?

a) 22
b) 21
c) 26
d) 23

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