The National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD) Announces National Esports Coach and Director of Year Award Des Moines, IA. – Dr. Chris Haskell of Boise State University, Boise, ID, has been named the college NAECAD National Esports Coach of the Year for 2019-20. Shaun Byrne of St. Clair College, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, has been named the college NAECAD National Esports Director of the Year for 2019-20.
Ryan Hinds of Elm Creek High School, Elm Creek, NE, has been named the high school NAECAD National Coach of the Year for 2019-20. Alene Vandermyde of Davenport Central High School, Davenport, IA, has been named the high school NAECAD National Director of the Year for 2019-20.
Dr. Chris Haskell of Boise State University, Boise, ID, is the Head Coach of the Varsity Esports and Associate Clinical Professor at Boise State University. As a professor and researcher, Chris also focuses on the impact of videogames, virtual worlds, social media, and digital culture. Dr. Haskell teaches his classes in Minecraft and World of Warcraft. He created a course about Facebook, Youtube, and Memes. In addition to overseeing and having winning records in five of the biggest collegiate esports titles, he helps oversee the independent broadcasting of over 200 hours of original esports content on its twitch channel which is by far the most of any collegiate esports program. Dr. Haskell has done a great deal to push forward positive recognition nationwide for esports. It has been a goal of Dr. Haskell to create a sports-like experience for the viewer and through the professionalism of the casters and hosts. This is further supported by the talent in the broadcast room, providing on screen graphics, replays, and a multi-camera setup that captures every moment during a match to create an end to end story. Dr. Haskell's success stems from a level of dedication and work ethic that is second-to-none. Dr. Haskell has created a model at Boise State that every collegiate program strives to resemble in some way. The culture of the program gives any student on their campus the ability to achieve their esports dreams, as well as their academic dreams, if they are willing to put in the work.
Shaun Byrne of St. Clair College, Windsor, Ontario, Canada is the Esports Director for Saints Gaming (SaintsGaming.ca), the varsity esports program at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. St. Clair College was the first post-secondary institution in Canada to fully embrace varsity esports. Starting in January 2019 he also began serving as program coordinator and faculty lead for the Esports Administration and Entrepreneurship academic program, one of only a handful of programs in the world training students for careers in the esports industry. Prior to his positions at the college, Shaun founded and served as CEO for Esport Gaming Events, Inc. (EGE.gg) from 2012 until 2017. EGE hosted over 100 successful Esports events in that five-year span throughout Ontario, Quebec and Michigan, including Good Game Con, the largest, with over 3,000 live participants in 2016 as well as Saints Gaming Live in 2017 which served as proof of concept for the esports programs at St. Clair College.
Ryan Hinds of Elm Creek High School, Elm Creek, NE is the Head Esports Coach at Elm Creek High School and President of Nebraska Schools Esport Association (NSeSA). In 2017, along with his wife, started a gaming club in Elm Creek, Nebraska and reached out to other schools to set up local competitions. He now helps lead esports in Nebraska offering an opportunity to students to use video games in their future college and career fields. His goal is to get esports recognized as a viable sport in the state of Nebraska, but also to help inform others about esports and the things students can achieve with gaming.
Alene Vandermyde of Davenport Central High School, Davenport, IA, is currently the Technology Innovator (Coach) and Esports Coordinator at Davenport Central High School. Prior to this, she was a Physics teacher and continues being a FIRST Tech Challenge Coach of two teams (Outlaws and Central Processing Units). With close to two years’ experience organizing esports, she sent the first email to start the Iowa High School Esports Association in the Spring of 2019, having officially launched its inaugural season this spring. With a total of 52 students on the Central High School Fall Esports roster, she has made organization her mantra – and fundraising a personal mission. Currently supporting Overwatch, Smash Brothers: Ultimate, an internal Bedwars Server, Rainbow 6 Siege, Rocket League, and League of Legends, Davenport Central High School has become a community where every student can find their place.
These prestigious awards recognize the outstanding leadership qualities a coach and director have made to its team, program, school, and to the entire esports ecosystem during the 2019-20 school year. The individual receiving this award will be recognized in person at the NAECAD National Convention Awards Banquet in Chicago, October 19-21, 2020.