Who We Are: 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 traditional competitive sport with highly trained NAECAD members leading the professional development, growth, and quality of competitive esports.
NAECAD’s history dates back to March 2018 at the first annual Global Esports Classic and Clinic hosted by Grand View University, in Des Moines, Iowa. This event was the first time in competitive esports history that coaches and directors from all levels gathered to learn from each other and network around their sport, as well as host a live university esports tournament that ran concurrently to the clinic sessions. Over fifty coaches and directors attended the inaugural event.
The 2nd Annual Global Esports Classic and Clinic held in March 2019 saw over 100 coaches and directors from all levels attend the event. It was determined from this event that there was a need for an organized association for coaches and directors to provide leadership, advocacy, and professional development for professionals passionate about competitive esports. Clinic attendees volunteered to be on the first advisory committee to provide feedback for the formation of NAECAD. From this effort, NAECAD was launch at the UBTech Conference in Orlando, Florida, in June 2019.
One of the major roles of the NAECAD will be to work with the governing bodies of the groups represented by the esports coaches and directors, including – the National Association of Collegiate Esports, Riot Scholastic Association of America, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the National Junior College Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations, and state athletic associations across the country.
The NAECAD is also committed to working with game publishing companies, professional esports organizations, and any other entity that is motivated to positively enhance the professional development, growth, and quality of the coaches and directors involved in competitive esports.
As an advocate for professional development for esports coaches and directors, the NAECAD is committed to bringing quality learning opportunities to the sport. This includes providing structured professional development pathways for esports coaches and directors, as well as regional clinics and national conventions. These events will increase networking and learning opportunities and also grow the awareness of competitive esports as a sport and profession.
Along with other valuable resources, the NAECAD will also launch a formal process to recognize National and Regional Awards for Coaches, Athletes, and Teams. This deserved recognition will begin to highlight the amazing skills and abilities of esports athletes across the nation and the coaches and directors that lead their teams. The NAECAD Hall of Fame will also be established to recognize those individuals who have invested time and effort to grow competitive esports.
NAECAD's Core Values
Integrity – We set and demonstrate the highest standards for both the coaching and directors within the sport and our organization.
Service – We are knowledgeable, accessible, and provide resources for coaches and directors to learn and develop.
Diversity – We are inclusive of all levels of esports and those in the past, present, and future who plan to make contributions to competitive esports. We value the diversity of our members and other stakeholders.
Influence – We represent a strong voice for the coaches and directors within the profession, and the overall promotion of the sport.
The first annual NAECAD National Convention has been rescheduled to October 19-21, 2020 at the Hilton Chicago in Chicago, IL. Save the date and see the National Convention page for more information.
NAECAD will offer three regional clinics during the 2020-21 membership year. The first regional clinic (East Coast Region) is tentatively being planned for January 26-29, 2020, at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Save the date and see our Regional Clinics page for more information.
The second regional clinic (Midwest Region) will be held in conjunction with the 3rd Annual Global Esports Classic and Clinic in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted by Grand View University. The dates are planned for March 5-6, 2021.
A third regional clinic is being organized for June 2021 for the West Coast Region. More information will be available soon.
NAECAD’s primary organizers are Dr. Jay Prescott and Dr. Jason Bauer. Dr. Prescott started the esports program at Grand View University. He, along with Dr. Jason Bauer, saw the need for professional development in the rapidly growing competitive esports world. This vision led to organizing the first Global Esports Classic and Clinic hosted by Grand View University, in Des Moines, Iowa in March 2018.
Jay is the Vice President for Student Affairs and Executive Director of the esports program at Grand View University, in Des Moines, Iowa. Jay is also the co-founder of Go Live Competition and Global Esports Academy and Clinics. These organizations specialize in the development of mobile platforms to enhance teaching and learning in higher education and now bringing that expertise to competitive esports. Jay also serves as a board member for the National Association of Collegiate Esports.
Jason is 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 player and coach, Jason has also served in varying capacities developing athletes and coaching staffs. He has a great passion for training and development. Along with Dr. Prescott, he has developed mobile platforms to enhance teaching and learning in higher education and now brings that expertise to competitive esports. He is the co-founder of Global Esports Academy and Clinics as well as Go Live Competition. Dr. Bauer hopes to enhance the esports experience by bringing the competitive gaming community together to learn from talented and knowledgeable leaders in the field.
The founding members of the first advisory committee represent a group of enthusiastic and experienced leaders in competitive esports. The members of the Advisory Committee are:
Justin Bragg, Illinois College
Shaun Byrne, St. Clair College
Patrick Chou, OMEN by HP
Toby Ebel, Baker University
Colby Elmitt, QCI
Callum Fletcher, Illinois Wesleyan
David Hanan, University of Central Oklahoma
Dana Hustedt, Grand View University
Ramsey Jamoul, Midwest Esports
Michael Jones, Drury University
Josh Knutson, Bytespeed
Kurt Melcher, Intersport, Robert Morris University
Joshua Pann, College Esports Specialist for HP Inc.
Nathan Ragsdell, Midland University
Kevin Reape, University of Missouri
Chad Schonewill, Colorado College
Joshua Sides, Winthrop University
Derek Spinell, University of Mount Union
Mike Szostek, Olivet Nazarene University
Jason Bauer, Grand View University
Jay Prescott, Grand View University
Joining this founding committee will be representatives from high school, club, and professional esports organizations as the NAECAD membership grows.
Service and Programs
The NAECAD is committed to establishing programs and partnerships that positively enhance the professional development, growth, and quality of competitive esports.
Along with other valuable resources, this fall, the NAECAD will also launch a formal process to recognize National and Regional Awards for Coaches, Athletes, and Teams. This deserved recognition will begin to highlight the amazing skills and abilities of esports athletes across the nation and the coaches and directors that lead their teams. The NAECAD Hall of Fame will also be established to recognize those individuals who have invested time and effort to grow competitive esports.
The NAECAD is committed to the success and growth of esports through youth programs. The Association is able and willing to assist in any way possible and partner with other organizations within the esports community, as well as organizations outside of the competitive esports community whose goal is to help young people thrive.