Note from the Executive Director
The education sector has faced one of its toughest years to date, but nevertheless we remain optimistic given esports has flexed well to virtual competition and continues to grow and thrive. We have seen many great matchups and competitions thus far, and proud that many of these schools are led by our members, both at the university and high school level. The NAECAD continues to grow with new programs and announcements happening frequently, so we are excited to share some of those highlights through this monthly newsletter.
November’s newsletter features the recently launch NAECAD Resource Program (NAECAD-RP). The NAECAD-RP is meant to serve as a valuable resource, connecting our members to connect with our partners for quality resources and services. We hope this saves coaches and directors time and money by providing direct access to companies that can help you build and grow a successful program.
New features in this month’s newsletter is the NAECAD Player of the Month and NAECAD Program Highlight. Each month we will highlight our top players from NAECAD member programs and the individuals that are in contention for NAECAD Player of the Year, as well as All-American Awards. In addition, highlighting a program each month allows the rest of us to learn and celebrate the great things taking place around the country at the high school and college level within the NAECAD family. We hope by seeing what other NAECAD members are doing will improve the rest of our programs and potentially create an opportunity to make a connection with another NAECAD member. If you are interested in sharing the great things happening in your program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Program Highlight.
We are pleased to announce two exciting sessions have been added to the NAECAD Certification Program (NAECAD-CP). 2020 NAECAD College Coach of the Year, Dr. Chris Haskell, shares his expertise on Broadcasting, and Dr. Elliot Levine shares a session on esports injuries and bully prevention. Two amazing new sessions you will want to check out! Just a reminder, if you have a great idea for a NAECAD-CP session submit the idea here.
NAECAD Resource Program (NAECAD-RP)
The NAECAD Resource Program (NAECAD-RP) is a simple way to provide NAECAD members the best products, service, and prices on the market to help start, equip, and promote an esports program. We believe that program development is essential to long term success of esports, so any schools that are exploring, in the beginning stages or already in existence can benefit from the discounted products and services that the NAECAD-RP provides. The discounts are available to NAECAD members only but we will provide free consultations to those looking to start/improve their program. We are also in the initial stages of creating a FAQ and budget page for the products and services that we offer to give members a streamlined experience when developing an esports program. In the meantime, visit the NAECAD-RP page, and if you have any feedback please send it our way. We appreciate your input!
Check it out here - naecad.org/esports-program-development
September 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. One Player of the Month will be recognized each month (September – April). Nominations for October Player of the Month are due November 1st so make sure you nominate a well deserving player! Without further ado, we are happy to announce that Bret Vester of Dickinson State University, Dickinson, ND, has been named the college NAECAD Player of the Month for September 2020. Owen Brinkman of Mariemont High School, Cincinnati, OH, has been named the high school NAECAD Player of the Month for September 2020. Bret is the team captain for the Dickinson State Blue Hawks. Josh Nichols, Director of Esports at Dickinson State and Owen plays Overwatch for the Mariemont High School Warriors.
Read more here - naecad.org/september-player-of-the-month-award-presented-by-naecad
Player of the Month Winner Interview
How did you get into gaming and esports?
I first got into gaming when I was 10 or so with Assassin's Creed, and I first got into esports when I watched the season one grand finals match of the Overwatch League.
So you play games for Mariemont HS, what do you like most about the program?
The community and school support is incredible. A main thing that's cool is our coach Mr. Eten is very into the games which helps us have the information we need. The computers and peripherals are also a very good part.
What is one of the highlight of your esports career so far? And what grade are you in?
Hm, the highlight of my esports career was probably this award or me figuring out that i could make the transition from support to damage. I am also a sophomore.
What are you looking forward to the rest of the season and do you have any esports related plans beyond high school?
I'm looking forward to strengthening the bond with my friends and teammates. I would definitely love to pursue esports after high school, but as of right now, I don't know what that's going to be.
Is there a college team you want to get a scholarship to play for?
The college in my city, The University of Cincinnati, has a Tespa team that would be cool to be on. I don't know if they have scholarships however.
Ok, that's all I got, is there anything else you want to mention?
I do, I just want to thank my brother for getting me into Overwatch and bugging me to watch OWL Grand Finals with him. I'll never be able to thank him enough!
Elkhorn High School
Elkhorn High school is located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin and is in year four since its development. Their facility includes two switches and six dedicated PC's. They have 30-40 students participating in Rocket League, Overwatch and Smash Bros at the varsity, junior varsity and casual level.
Both of their staff members share the responsibility when it comes to overseeing the program. Mike Dahle said, "This is my first year teaching in this district, but Jerry has been leading this program for three years and developed the culture. He's built a great report with not only the students, but with our local community. They see the benefits for our students and realize it's more than just a game to many of them, so they are willing to provide additional support/resources for the program. I, personally, have been jumping in with our Overwatch team to help build our teamwork, synergy and play style. I've been working with our captain to try and shift him into a coach for the team too. He's been top 500 before, so I'm trying to help him be able to communicate and work with our new players to bring them up to speed."
When asked about a challenge that the program has had to overcome, Dahle said, "The hardest thing with every program is getting the Nintendo Switch to work correctly on our network. Shout out to every IT director and IT staff who bends over backwards to help make this a possibility."
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday = Practice (2 hours each night)
- Tuesday = Varsity Smash
- Wednesday = Varsity OW
- Thursday = JV Smash (2 hours each night)
- Friday = Fun Friday (Community building event) (2 hours)
NAECAD also asked what Elkhorn's program hopes to achieve in the future. Dahle said, "Working on getting more into streaming and providing students additional opportunities outside of just gaming. We have students lining up to design overlays and visuals and wanting to do play by play commentary for our matches. We want to provide more opportunities for students to gain valuable real world experience that will benefit them in the future."
NAECAD Certification Program (NAECAD-CP): New Courses
Esports Injuries and Preventing Bullying in Esports by Elliott Levine
Elliot is Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of HealthyPlayerONE, and Chief Academic Officer for STSEducation, a national educational technology services firm shares on two health related esports topics: Preventing Bullying in Esports and Sports Injuries. Elliot is formerly the first Distinguished Technologist in Education in Silicon Valley, Elliott is a past school district official, adjunct professor, columnist, and sought-after keynote speaker in the edtech vertical. He advises institutions and companies privately, and his opinions expressed in this session are entirely his own.
Esports Broadcasting by Dr. Chris Haskell
Leading the way in collegiate esports productions, 2020 NAECAD Coach of the Year, Boise State Univeristy’s Dr. Chris Haskell shares his expertise and experience about esports broadcasting. This session will help you craft a broadcasting vision for your esports program. Topics that will be covered will be the importance of message control, understanding the expectations of your audience, developing a visual vocabulary, types of broadcasting assets, and developing inventory.