Debate Coach

Debate Coach

EP 15

Athens, GA

Male, 54

I have been the director of the Georgia Debate Union for the last twenty-five years. Our program works with intercollegiate debaters who engage in public policy debate (National Debate Tournament style debate). Our coaches collaborate with undergraduate debaters on developing argument strategies for the annual national topic, direct research on that topic, facilitating discussions related to theories of debate, and listen to practice debates and speeches.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +


Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

18 Questions


Last Answer on February 04, 2013

Best Rated

Are presidential debates actually "debates", by the traditional definition?

Asked by J. Wright over 11 years ago

They lack both equal and adequate time. Two conditions for a real debate. This format leaves people fighting for time and leads to the complaints about the moderators. And, there are a number of serious issues that don't get fully developed. We could use a whole 1.5 hour debate just covering a plan to reduce our national debt.

Do you think people's determination of "winner" and "loser" in a prez debate is based on the actual strength of the arguments, or is it more about who presented better / had the stronger personality? Is it about form or substance?

Asked by Findependent over 11 years ago

It can be substance, but that isn't the case in '12. Romney won debate #1 because he undermined the narrative the Obama campaign carefully crafted for the two months leading up to the debate. Simply put, the arguments before the debate should look like the arguments during the debate and they should be carried forward post debate. Not the case for Obama in debate #1.

In the last 20-25 years, what would you say was the most resounding win in a high-profile debate?

Asked by spikeitup over 11 years ago

If you look back 30+ years, Reagan Oct 1980. Closer to today, Bush Sept 2000. If you are looking for effect on the outcome based on performance, Kerry was solid in 2004.

Are you married, and if so, does your spouse get annoyed if you flex your debate skills during an argument?

Asked by Maria_77 over 11 years ago

She is a commercial litigator. I don't win many arguments at home :)

What 1 piece of advice would you give each of Obama and Romney to improve their respective debating skills?

Asked by AliceE over 11 years ago

Governor Romney needs to be less combative in this setting. Given the issues are security based and he will be sitting at a table with Obama. The President needs to replicate the persona deployed in debate II when answering the Libya question. While this is a foreign policy debate he needs to be more assertive on how his domestic policies are really part of a broader long term plan (green jobs, infrastructure repair, debt reduction).

As gratifying as it was to watch Joe Biden repeatedly put Paul Ryan in his place, do you think he went overboard with the interruptions, eye-rolls, snickers, etc? Would something like that result in a penalty of some kind in real debates?

Asked by Joe Podium over 11 years ago

He hurt himself with undecided voters, while rallying the base. He did a good job given his goal was to mobilize those disillusioned by Obama's debate #1 performance.

What's the most common mistake or weakness that you find yourself having to correct with your undergraduate students?

Asked by HHernandez over 11 years ago

An inability to take argument risks and a desire to speak more quickly than they can really manage.