CONWAY, Ark. (November 13,
2019) — Hendrix College has named Hot Springs native Logan Horton as the
College’s inaugural varsity esports head coach. Horton will officially begin
his role in January 2020.
Horton comes to Hendrix from
Lake Hamilton High School, where he taught Advanced Placement history and
coached an after-school esports program that served 60 students and generated
over $200,000 in scholarship opportunities. An alumnus of Henderson State
University, Horton will complete his master’s degree in media management from
Arkansas State University in the spring.
A former competitive and
sponsored esports player, Horton’s teaching and esports coaching career began
in 2017 at the Academies of West Memphis, focusing on the games League of
Legends, Super Smash Bros, and Hearthstone. He has continued to work in the
esports community, advising clubs and teams on fundraisers, tournaments,
organizational strategies, and player retention, and he is a prolific speaker
in the media and at conferences about the growing esports community.
“I have been fortunate
enough to discover the power of education, the motivation of esports, and the
effects of healthy relationships, and I have been given incredible
opportunities to reach students through esports," he said. "Esports
reaches all ages, races, and education levels. Esports is a fantastic and
effective tool to engage students in and out of the classroom, encouraging
learning, life skills, and teamwork.”
The opportunity to
participate in esports is a significant factor in students’ college selection,
“It’s a major factor for a lot
of students, especially if they can continue doing what they love,” he said.
“They want that opportunity, and if they want to be professional competitive
gamers, college is the next step toward that goal.”
Far from feeding a 24/7
gaming addiction, esports culture emphasizes life away from the screen, Horton
Horton feels esports is
well-suited to and will integrate very well with Hendrix culture, the College’s
“Unto the whole person” motto, its ethos of engaged learning, and its Statement
“I strongly identify with
the College’s dedication to the development of the students inside and outside
of the classroom,” he said. “I see the great potential at Hendrix. Esports
takes individuals of incredible intelligence and challenges them to work as a
team. I plan to test these distinguished players with teamwork, skill, and
rigor as we work to develop a competitive, fun, and winning program.
“Hendrix allows for
creativity, education, and sports to thrive. I want to be a part of the
excellence that Hendrix continuously displays. The culture, experience, and
opportunities that Hendrix provides is like no other in the United States or
perhaps the world. Who would not want to be a part of the process?”
Horton hopes to see 20 or
more team members, perhaps adding more along the way, during the first season.
Students will try out for a spot on the team, Horton said. And like other
intercollegiate athletics programs, the esports team will practice five or six
days a week, working on skills, communication, teamwork, and bonding.
Horton is proposing several
popular games initially, including League of Legends, Rocket League, Super
Smash Bros, Overwatch, and Hearthstone, leaving room for more titles available
in the future.
League play is generally
seven weeks of competition, January through March, followed by championship
play. A recent national collegiate esports championship series included more
than 20 hours of live video streaming with 2,000 views from 1,000 viewers and
drew 400 attendees and 100 players. Hendrix is currently exploring conference
affiliation. Non-conference play is common in the fall.
Hendrix is on schedule to
complete its esports arena (visualize a hip and trendy computer lab), which
will be housed in repurposed space in the College’s Wellness and Athletics
The proximity to
intercollegiate athletics and its designation as a varsity program are
intentional, according to Director of Athletics Amy Weaver, who oversees the
College’s 21 National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division III
Initially apprehensive about
esports, Weaver changed her mind after researching the explosive growth of
college esports programs and talking to young coaching staff members who were
avid esports advocates and gaming enthusiasts.
“When I saw how esports
instills the same values you get in traditional athletics — accountability,
competition, critical thinking, strategy, and teamwork — that’s what sold me on
it,” said Weaver, adding that the athletic program’s recruiting culture is a
The College worked with
Innovative Gaming Solutions in the initial planning for the new esports
Though esports is not yet
officially recognized or sanctioned by the NCAA, esports players will be held
to the standards as the College’s NCAA Division III student-athletes, including
academic performance, drug screening, and fitness requirements.
“It’s going to be set up as
if it were an NCAA DIII sport,” Weaver said. “Because, to me, how we represent
ourselves as a college program is important.”
The new program will also
provide esports spectator opportunities through live streaming and social
media, Horton said.
Weaver envisions a future of
campus watch parties for students to support their classmates competing in
While Horton and Weaver will
oversee varsity esports, Hendrix students who are interested in gaming but not
in competing at the intercollegiate level can take part in the student-led
Hendrix Gaming Club.
“Both of those levels are
important for a campus,” Horton said. “It means there are more opportunities to
participate and to be involved.”
“We are thrilled to have
Coach Horton join the Hendrix community,” said Hendrix President Bill Tsutsui.
“Esports will be a great addition to our intercollegiate athletics program, and
Coach Horton will be a great inaugural leader for this program. We are so
excited to see a new era of Warrior Esports unfold.”
For more information about Warrior Esports, contact Head Coach Logan Horton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A private liberal arts
college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as
one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That
Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and
rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous
college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been
affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.