Coaches

Scott L. Harris, Ph.D Northwestern University - David B. Pittaway Director of Debate

Director of Debate at the University of Kansas since 1991.  Named "Educator of the Year" by Kansas Speech Communication Association in 2018. Winner of the James J. Unger Award from National Debate Tournament in 2018. Winner of the Ovid Davis Award from National Debate Tournament in 2018. Winner of the Jeffrey W. Jarman Debate "Person of the Year" Award in 2017. Winner of the Brownlee Debate Coach of the Year Award from Cross Examination Debate Association in 2015.  Winner of the Northwestern Debate Society Award for excellence in coaching in 2010.  Winner of the Ovid Davis Award for coaching an NDT national champion in 2009.  Winner of the George Ziegelmueller Award for excellence in debate coaching in 2006.  Winner of the Debate Coach of the Year Award from Wake Forest University in 2006. Served as President of the Cross Examination Debate Association 2018-19 and Vice President 2016-18. Served as President of the American Forensic Association 2012-2014 and Vice-President 2010-2012.  Awarded a Gene A. Budig Teaching Professorship for the Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2011.  Spent 5 years as Director of Debate at the University of Louisville and was an assistant coach at Northwestern University and Wayne State University.  As a debater at Wayne State University he was a four time qualifier for the National Debate Tournament, a three time qualifier for the elimination rounds, and a two time first round at large qualifier.  He was 2nd speaker at the NDT in 1981.  He was Top Speaker at numerous tournaments including Dartmouth, Florida State, West Georgia twice and twice at the DSR-TKA National Tournament.  He was a two time winner of the DSR-TKA National Debate Championship.

Brett Bricker, Ph.D University of Kansas - Associate Director of Debate

Debate coach at the University of Kansas since 2010.  As a debater Brett has the most wins in the history of the University of Kansas debate program. He won the National Debate Tournament in 2009.  He won multiple other tournaments including Harvard, the University of Southern California, West Georgia and the Kentucky Round Robin.  He was a four time qualifier for the National Debate Tournament and a three time qualifier for the elimination rounds.  He received three first round at large bids to the NDT including a 2nd place ranking in 2009 and a 3rd place ranking in 2008. He was 2nd speaker at the NDT in 2009 and 3rd speaker in 2008.  He was Top Speaker at numerous tournaments including Georgia State, Harvard, the University of Southern California, West Georgia, the Kentucky Round Robin and twice at the Dartmouth Round Robin.  He spent three years as debate coach at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and has taught at numerous summer debate institutes including the University of Michigan.  He has even taught debate in Shanghai China.

Benton Bajorek - Assistant Debate Coach

Benton is an MA student in the Department of Communication Studies.  Benton began his debate career at Arkansas State University where he competed in multiple forms of debate including Parliamentary, IPDA, Team IPDA, Lincoln-Douglas, and Public Forum.  During his time competing, he received several top speaker awards, won first place at multiple tournaments, and ended his senior season as a 2015 Team IPDA National Semifinalist.  In addition to his success at tournaments, he places an emphasis on giving back to the debate community.  He volunteered his time to coach at local high schools to help establish debate programs though the Delta Debate League Initiative and spearheaded a community service project that received the 2014 Service Award, sponsored by the Noel Foundation. 

Jyleesa Hampton - Assistant Debate Coach

Jyleesa is a Research Fellow and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Communication Studies. She won the 2015 Brian Johnston Award as the National Debater of the Year.  She took 2nd place at the 2015 Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament.  She was 2nd speaker at the CEDA national tournament and won numerous other speaker awards at national tournaments.  She was a first round at large recipient and elimination round participant at the 2015 National Debate Tournament.  She is a Board Member of the Women’s Debate Institute. Jyleesa was named a Woman of Distinction by the University of Kansas in 2016, and received a Diversity Leadership Award from KU in 2016.

Jacob Justice - Assistant Debate Coach

Jake is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Communication Studies. He debated in high school at Dexter High School, and for five years at Wayne State University. At Wayne State University, Jake qualified to the National Debate Tournament 3 times and reached the elimination rounds at multiple national tournaments including Georgia State University, Harvard, the University of Southern California, California State University Fullerton, Northwestern, and the University of Texas. He also received a top-20 speaker award at the 2014 Georgia State University and Harvard tournaments.


Will Katz - Assistant Deb
ate Coach

Sean Kennedy
Sean Kennedy - Assistant Debate Coach

Sean is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Communication Studies.  He has been a coach at KU since 2012.  He has also coached at New Trier High School and Shawnee Mission East.  As a debater at KU he was the Top Speaker at the 2011 CEDA National Tournament and received speaker awards at every major national tournament.  He qualified for the NDT 3 times as a first round at large qualifier and was the 5th ranked first round at large team in 2012.  He was in the elimination rounds at the NDT three times, reaching the quarterfinals in 2012.  He reached at least the quarterfinals at every major national tournament including winning the Wake Forest tournament and twice reaching the semi-finals of the CEDA national tournament.

Xi Li
Xi Li - Assistant Debate Coach

Talya Slaw
Talya Slaw - Assistant Debate Coach


Jesse Smith - Assistant Debate Coach

Alaina Walberg
Alaina Walberg - Assistant Debate Coach

 

 


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2019 Debate Camp
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