Highland Community College Set To Launch ESports Program


Highland Community College announces the launch of competitive esports starting in the fall of 2019. Esports, a form of competition played through online video games, involves organized, multi- or single-player games with real-time strategy. This new form of gameplay allows skilled students new opportunities and outlets for engagement. Esports team members can join teams focusing on specific games already popular in the world of professional gaming.

Games currently in consideration for play include League of Legends, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros., Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, Rocket League, FIFA, or Madden. As esports is often comprised of several different games played competitively, the esports program at Highland is in the midst of gauging interest from prospective students on what to offer.

HCC esports has joined the only official governing body for varsity esports, the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). In addition, the process of developing a facility with top-flight hardware, computers, ultra-fast 1ms 4K gaming monitors, headsets, chairs, gaming keyboards, and mice has begun with play to start this fall. Players will compete on PC, Xbox and PlayStation platforms.

Josh Clary, Residence/Student Life Assistant Director at Highland has been selected to lead the program. Clary started his gaming career at a young age and has continued to enjoy gaming throughout his young professional career. His passion isn’t just in the games, but getting students engaged and excited to go to college. “My goal as the coach of esports is to recruit students that have a genuine passion for becoming a competitive gamer, promote their skills to increase their likelihood of gaming competitively on a D1 level, and create a family atmosphere where we all celebrate our wins and losses while growing as a team,” commented Clary.

“Josh will not only bring knowledge of gaming but will also lay a foundation of success for the program. His ability to communicate and build relationships will be one of his biggest assets in starting our esports program at HCC,” mentioned Tyler Nordman, Director of Athletics at Highland.

With competition to begin this fall, Highland Community College is actively recruiting students interested in competing in esports at HCC.

Director of Athletics, Tyler Nordman, commented “I am excited to add esports to our different program/sport offerings at HCC this year. As with many other sports, esports will provide students with a number of great opportunities. It is an opportunity to come to college and get an education while doing something they love and are passionate about. Esports is one of the fasting growing sports across the country and we are happy to get in the mix and be offering it at HCC.”

If you are a prospective gamer and interested in participating in this new program or would like more information on esports at Highland Community College, contact head coach Josh Clary at or by phone at 785-442-6132. You can also fill out the ‘Prospective Gamer’ form at

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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