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New INT instructor and eSports Coach at PCC

29 March 2016

In December, Pratt Community College announced the revival of the Information Networking Technology (INT) program and the addition of a new club sport being added to the college’s roster. The new activity is called eSports and PCC will be rolling out the virtual carpet to new and current students interested in using their gaming skills at a competitive level.

eSports is a fairly new activity to colleges across the country. It involves the practice and team competition of computer based video games that can be played online, such as the popular PC game, League of Legends. On the collegiate level hundreds of universities and community colleges have implemented eSports into their programs competing regionally against each other as a part of the Collegiate Star League. PCC is not the first college in Kansas to implement eSports. Kansas Weslyan University and Kansas State University are actively competing in collegiate leagues. Wichita State University hosted their second annual eSports convention this past February with a grand prize of $10,000 awarded to the winner of a League of Legends tournament.

In conjunction with the INT program and eSports, PCC has hired, Kenton Small, as an INT instructor and Head Coach of eSports. Small, comes to PCC from Newton, IA specializing in website and application development and design. Small also has experience in managing online game leagues for Sony Online Entertainment.

“I’m excited for this opportunity,” said Small. “eSports is a relatively new industry and it will be a lot of fun working with students to launch a new team at PCC.”

Small says that he and Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, VP of Instruction at PCC, are working to finalize the curriculum structure based off the previous INT program as well as details pertaining to eSports.

eSports will be a team environment. Small anticipates having 12 students on the team. Their practices will be held on campus and will involve playing a variety of games including the most competitive, League of Legends. Practices will also include mandatory physical activity.

“I think it’s important to exercise the body as well as the mind,” said Small. “We will have a physical activity regimen including cardio into our practice time.”

A permanent practice facility has not been determined for the team. However, Small and Fitzpatrick anticipate that in the future the eSports team will be able to utilize the Dennis Lesh Sports Arena for competitions with spectators being able to watch their progress on big screens.
Students will also have the opportunity to earn scholarships for both INT and eSports. Small says students on the eSports team will be expected to maintain certain academic standards to participate and compete.

Small is heavily recruiting for both of these new ventures at PCC. He says that the INT program is perfect for students passionate about computers and who want to turn that passion into a career or those who know they want to be in this rapidly growing industry but have no prior experience. The program is designed to build a foundation and skills necessary for completing the CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) Certifications in Computer Technology A+, Networking Technology N+ and Information Technology Security S+.

“Students do not need to be in the INT program to be on the eSports team,” said Small. “We are looking for all types of students to be on the team. Any type of gamer or student who wants to grow in this sport can try out.”

Small wants students to know that both INT and eSports are growing industries with a lot of potential in the future.

“eSports is projected to grow to be a billion dollar sport within four years. A lot of scholarships are out there for students and there is even possibility to turn into a career in the future.”

Enrollment for Fall 2016 has begun and students who are interested in learning more and enrolling for the INT program or trying out for eSports can contact Small at kentons@prattcc.edu.