Last changed on
Fri January 25, 2019 at 8:51 AM EDT
Short-pre-round version: Former Director of Debate and Policy/CX debate coach at Calhoun High School (Georgia). Former NDT debater, college assistant coach. After my re-entry into the activity in 2002, I worked to learn the K, and my paradigm is still evolving. So far, I have been willing to listen to anything. I tend to reward debaters with clash and explanation, and teams that are clever and willing to take risks. I am taking another break from debate starting Fall 2019 and will not be as familiar with the topic or trendy arguments, so please slow down and explain.
Longer, working on prefs, version: Lived the debate life in high school (Southern California) and then college (Univ of Redlands). Started at the bottom but thanks to a great college coach (Southworth), some outstanding partners, and a supportive community, I had some success as a senior (won Kentucky RR, Wake, a few others, and a top 5 bid to NDT). Taught summers at Golden West, Wake, Georgetown, and Emory workshops. I researched for several debate handbooks (something we used to do), and assisted at high schools including Calhoun, Damien, GBN and Holt HS (Alabama). After leaving U of R in 1980, I assistant coached some outstanding high school teams, Samford University, and Calhoun. Co-authored the debate theory article with my friend Dr. Walter Ulrich, "Bad Theory as a Voting Issue" in 1982. Went to law school at Bama after that, and put debate away completely until my children were of age to start debating in Georgia's middle school league in 2002. That led to coaching the high school team, and since 2005 I have been the director of debate at Calhoun (small public school in rural Georgia with great debate and speech history - about an hour north of Atlanta). Was fortunate to bring in Ed Williams to head coach for a couple of years, and have also had some outstanding assistants (Jadon Marianetti, Jim Schultz, Kristen Lowe, Natalie Bennie, Judy Butler, and '16-17 Lenny Brahin, also sister Lynn [former NDT debater for Louisville, also now an attorney].)
Clarity: I may throw in the occasional warning of "clear" to debaters, but after two or three "clears", I will put down my pen and look annoyed until I can comprehend the argument. If you think from visual clues that I am not getting the argument, I probably am not.
I coached for many years on the national and regional (Georgia) circuit. I have a team of very dedicated and intense policy debaters. I have historically written a lot of our arguments, but the team and assistants are doing most all of that this year. Just point this out so you understand that just because my team runs an argument doesn't mean that I like it, or that I completely understand it. Coaching is a purely volunteer position, and my two part-time/full-time jobs are as the Judge of the Gordon County Juvenile (child abuse and neglect, deliquency cases) and as a private attorney representing plainitiffs in personal injury and victim's rights cases. I am usually accompanied at tournaments by my spouse, Carol, who is sort of team Mom, travel agent and organizer of all things.
Likes/dislikes: I judge debate because I love debate and the community and the education it provides. I try to be extremely objective, and believe I have the reputation of voting for teams because I think they won, never because of rep or outside (or inside the round) influences. In fact, I tend to react badly if I believe a team or coach is trying to exert undue influence. Post-round I will give my critique, and will answer respectful and honest questions from the debaters. I expect a team I drop (and their coaches) to be unhappy, but no matter what, please be nice to your opponents, your partner, your coaches, and your judge.
My email: Beardenlaw@aol.com.