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Rackauskas named Esports Head Coach

May 6, 2020

Heartland Community College has hired a coach to help launch the Varsity Esports team beginning play in the fall of 2020.

Jarrod Rackauskas has been hired as the Head Esports Coach at Heartland. He will begin recruiting players for the competitive online video gaming team this summer.

Heartland will compete as a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), a nonprofit organization comprised of over 170 institutions. The Hawks Esports team will consist of 6 varsity students and 6 junior varsity students who will play “League of Legends” in competition with other collegiate programs.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity and am looking forward to working with the student athletes,” said Coach Rackauskas. “As a science teacher, I know how important it is to sharpen problem solving skills in and outside of the classroom. Esports not only requires teamwork and focus from players but also develops creative and critical thinking.”

Rackauskas currently coaches esports at Normal West High School where he is a chemistry teacher. His previous coaching experience includes founding and coaching an esports Counter Strike Team at Truman State University. He also served as a coach for football at Canton High School, basketball at Canton Junior High and football at Olympia High School.

One of the most rapid-growing collegiate team activities, esports is offered by more than 600 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“The Heartland Esports program will offer varsity-level competition with the same standards of accessibility, diversity and inclusion that are core to our College mission,” said Sarah Diel-Hunt, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services. “Having Heartland represented in the growing world of online video gaming is another way we are building community on campus and throughout our district.”

As a requirement of NACE membership, programs must have a dedicated, part-time coach to begin recruiting esport athletes to compete in the Fall 2020-21 academic year. Students interested in trying out for the Hawks Varsity Esports program can contact the Student Engagement office at studentengagement@heartland.edu.

Written by: Steve Fast