Esports head coach announced: KSC alum makes his dream come true

Ahead of a spring 2024 semester launch of Keene State’s esports program, a head coach was officially announced in an email sent to students by President Treadwell on behalf of the athletics department on Thursday, Nov 9. 

Noah Drouin, graduate program class of 2021, has been hired as the first head coach of the program. Drouin will officially start on Nov. 27.

“I’m just excited to promote Keene State as an institution and get our program off the ground and really make a name for our program right off the bat,” Drouin said in an interview with The Equinox.

Drouin said he has always wanted to turn his love for gaming into a full-time job.

Martin Testo, director of athletics, said, “His passion, it just lights me up, man.”

Testo said the search for a head coach was deemed successful and they were able to hire someone who would come to Keene State with “tremendous experience and tremendous passion and excitement to being able to do this at his alma mater.”

Drouin previously graduated from Keene State in 2020 with a bachelor’s in education and continued his academic journey to graduate with a master’s in education and curriculum and instruction.

He currently works in high schools as an advocate and advisor for a program called Trio Upward Bound, which helps underrepresented students.

Drouin is no stranger to the world of esports. From March 2022 to August 2022, he said he played “Pokémon Unite,” a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game for the Nintendo Switch. While doing so, his team placed top 16 nationally.

Additionally, he works with Fort Lewis College in Colorado’s esports program, taking on more of an administrative role, he said. 

Besides Pokémon Unite, Drouin said he likes to play first-person shooters and other single-player games. Currently, he said he is playing a lot of “Fortnite,” “Starfield” and “Call of Duty” 

He said his favorite game is “Overwatch,” something he said he would like to launch pretty quickly in the program. 

However, as of right now he said there are only two games “locked in” for the program: “Rocket League” and Super Smash Bros.” 

For the program, Drouin said, “I want Keene State to have a reputation as a top-tier esports institution that can compete at the highest level of competition.”

He noted it is exciting to see Keene State recognize the esports program under the athletics department.

“I think having that legitimacy of being recognized as a varsity athletic program is very important,” he said.

First, he plans to recruit in-house from the student body, but eventually, he will work to scout high school students to build the program to “make a team that can represent the standard of athletic achievement that Keene State is known for.” 

Additionally, he is working to find at least one assistant coach but would like to have an assistant coach for every title that they offer.

“All these things are starting to take shape now that we put Noah into place and he’s getting all the research and all the information that the esports teams have done here and he’s starting to bring it to fruition,” Testo said.

Testo also noted the designs for LLC room 129 to be transformed into the esports hub have been completed.

As of the last time Testo checked, he said there was interest in the program from 55 to 60 students, according to a survey conducted by the department. 

“[It’s] super super interesting for someone who coached baseball for many years at its collegiate level, like this is a different animal, man, like it’s different.”

Even though future members of the esports program will be able to compete against other players from across the country, travel is still up in the air.

Testo said if the team gets elected to compete in a national tournament, the team will have to go. 

  

Tim Bruns can be contacted at 

tbruns@kscequinox.com

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