Cleary University has announced the appointment of Nathan Benton as its head coach for Esports.
Benton served as assistant head coach of Esports at Oakland University in Auburn Hills for the past two years, where he was responsible for coordinating tournaments and served as a liaison between tournament organizers and players. He also managed live broadcasting via Twitch, including recruiting on-air talent.
Benton also was an Esports coach at AOE Esports Event Center in Troy, where he managed day-to-day operations at the LAN Center and coached various rosters for AOE Esports and the XP league. He also designed and organized diverse youth Esports programs and was responsible for developing a social media presence for the center.
“I’m very excited to join the Esports team at Cleary!” said Benton. “I’ve had a love for video games and education most of my life, and now I can give back to my community in a way that combines both of my passions!”
Benton grew up in Milford and earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Oakland University.
He is a member of the National Association of Esports Coaches and Directors, a Positive Coaching Alliance member, and a Boy Scouts of America Eagle scout.
In his free time, he enjoys video gaming, astrophysics and running.
Cleary is one of only a few universities in eastern Michigan that offers Esports, a new, rapidly growing competitive sport among high school and college students across the country.
Esports are video games played in an organized, competitive environment. Some schools, like Cleary University, designed an Esports facility exclusively for the games, which range from team-oriented multi-player competitions to single player shooters and virtual reconstructions of physical sports.
In its first season, the program was an overwhelming success, taking third place overall during the WHAC Rocket league regular season. Student athletes also competed in Valorant, Call of Duty Cold War, Hearthstone, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Overwatch and League of Legends.
Cleary’s Esports arena is outfitted with 18 state-of-the-art gaming stations and plans to add six more. The arena also is equipped with custom signage, chairs, mouse pads and broadcast equipment.
The Esports team at Cleary is comprised of 23 student athletes from across the country and Canada.