The National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors (NAECAD; pronounced as “Nay-cad”) announced its launch as the first professional organization for competitive esports coaches and directors at all levels of competitive play, including club, high school, college and professional, at the UB Tech conference, which is taking place June 10-12 in Orlando. 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 association wants 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 Global Esports Classic and Clinic, which was hosted by Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. This event was the first time that esports coaches and directors from all levels gathered to learn from each other and network as well as host a live university esports tournament, which ran concurrently with clinic sessions. Over 50 coaches and directors attended.
The Second Annual Global Esports Classic and Clinic held in March 2019 included over 100 coaches and directors from all levels. At the event, it was determined 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. Following this effort, NAECAD has launched at the UB Tech conference, and as a part of the launch, NAECAD leaders have helped organize an exclusive esports track for UB Tech.
The founding members of NAECAD’s first advisory committee represent a group of experienced leaders in competitive esports. They are:
- Justin Bragg, Illinois College
- Shaun Byrne, St. Clair College
- Patrick Chou, OMEN by HP
- Toby Ebel, Baker University
- Callum Fletcher, Illinois Wesleyan University
- Dana Hustedt, Grand View University
- Ramsey Jamoul, Midwest Esports
- Michael Jones, Drury University
- Josh Knutson, Bytespeed
- Joshua Pann, college esports specialist, HP Inc.
- Nathan Ragsdell, Midland University
- Kevin Reape, University of Missouri
- 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 committee will be representatives from high school, club and professional esports organizations as NAECAD membership grows.
One of the major roles of 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, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, National Junior College Athletic Association and National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as state athletic associations across the country. NAECAD is also committed to working with game publishing companies, professional esports organizations and other esports groups.
As an advocate for the professional development of esports coaches and directors, NAECAD is committed to bringing quality learning opportunities to the sport. Such opportunities will include providing structured professional development pathways for esports coaches and directors, as well as offering regional clinics and national conventions. These events will increase networking and learning opportunities and will grow the awareness of competitive esports as a sport and profession.
This fall, NAECAD will launch a formal process to recognize national and regional awards for coaches, athletes and teams, along with other resources. The awards will highlight the skills and abilities of esports athletes across the nation and the coaches and directors that lead esports teams. The NAECAD Hall of Fame will also be established to recognize individuals who have invested time and effort to grow competitive esports.
NAECAD will begin enrolling members July 1. More information can be found at NAECAD.org or at NAECAD’s Discord server: https://discord.gg/9w8Japu, or follow NAECAD on Twitter @TheNAECAD. Inquires can also be sent to email@example.com.
Interested in esports? Keep up with LRP’s Academic Esports Conference.