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esports COACH

John Hartzog



Coach Hartzog is a graduate of North Florida Community College (NFCC), holds a B.S. in Psychology from Florida State University and M.Ed in Instructional Online Design from Capella University.  John Hartzog is a life-long video game player and has advocated for how games can help educate as well as allow us to break societal barriers and stereotypes

Prior to being named FGC’s first esport coach, Coach Hartzog was a contributing writer for gaming news with NerdHQ where he was the lead writer on several competitive titles such as Overwatch and For Honor. Coach Hartzog is currently active in online competitive games such as Overwatch, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Hearthstone, and Spellbreak, He brings a wealth of knowledge from a variety of gaming areas including console and PC gaming. 

As head coach, Coach Hartzog is part of a small committee spearheading the creation of a new Esports Performance arena on the first floor of the Hall Student Center.  The state-of-the art facilities for the Varsity Program includes: a lag less environment, top-of-the line peripherals, and the best PCs on the market. The space includes a lounge area for the players.

Esports, competitive online video gaming, is one of the fastest growing collegiate team activities, now offered at more than 600 colleges and universities across the country. “Many people believe eSports is just a bunch of kids sitting around playing video games. These athletes are competing and performing at a high level, requiring a lot of skill. I’m excited to show people these competitions are just as serious as a traditional sport” says Hartzog. Students who are interested in becoming a member of the 2020-21 FGC Esports team are invited to fill out the form below.

Interested in Esports? Fill out our –> Esports Interest Form

Florida Gateway College Esports Prepares for Inaugural Season

Florida Gateway College Athletics’ new Esports program is set to begin competition in Fall 2021. Recruitment is ramping up as head coach John Hartzog seeks to build a holistic program of student-athletes, including those who see themselves as future content creators, designers, and engineers.

Also in progress is construction and renovation of a brand new arena covering approximately 1,500 square feet and featuring all new high-end gaming PCs, televisions, Nintendo Switch systems, and peripherals. FGC has purchased gaming PCs from Maingear and peripherals from Razer, two companies with a focus on high-performance custom machines and gaming experiences. This ensures that FGC esports athletes are ready to compete when tournaments begin in the Fall. The arena will also feature a viewing area.

FGC is the first college in the Florida College System to announce a competitive esports programs and will be the first to join National Junior College Athletics Association Esports (NJCAAE), the only national association for two-year college esports. The team will compete in games such as “Super Smash Bro. Ultimate,” “Overwatch,” “Rocket League,” and “Fortnite,” among others.

FGC announced in November that Hartzog had been selected as the head coach of the college’s first esports program. He brings with him 25 years of gaming experience and knowledge, as well as eight years of experience managing and coordinating players from diverse backgrounds. He also has three years of competitive gaming experience.

“Florida Gateway College is going all-in on building out this program right from the start,” said Hartzog. “We have purchased some great equipment along with the renovations to our arena space. Our athletes are going to feel like they hit the big time.”

“Most people think that esports are a bunch of kids playing video games,” Hartzog added. “But they are performing on another level in esports. They have a deep understanding of the mechanics and incredible dexterity. Think of it as comparing a pick-up basketball game at your family reunion and the NBA. There’s a big difference.”

Esports joins Women’s Volleyball, Men’s Basketball, and Women’s Cross Country in FGC’s collegiate sports lineup. Students interested can reach out about the program at or call 386-752-1822.