Scott Harris

Scott Harris
  • Senior Specialist
  • David B. Pittaway Director of Debate

Contact Info

Bailey Hall Room 407
1440 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594


The David B. Pittaway Director of Debate. He has been directing the debate program at the University of Kansas since 1991.  Under his leadership, KU has qualified teams for the National Debate Tournament every year from 1982-2022. He has coached teams to two NDT National Championships, and eight Final Four appearances. In 2020 he was voted one of the top 5 college debate coaches of the decade for the second consecutive decade. He was also voted the 2nd best judge of the decade for 2010-2019. In 2023 he was named to the Collegiate Hall of Fame by the Kansas Speech Communication Association. He was the 2020 winner of a Steeples Service Award from the University of Kansas. He was named "Educator of the Year" by the Kansas Speech Communication Association in both 2018 and 2019. Winner of the James J. Unger Award from the 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 the 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 championship team in 2009. Winner of the George Ziegelmueller Award by the NDT for career excellence in debate coaching in 2006.  Winner of the National Debate Coach of the Year Award 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.  Was the inaugural winner of the 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.  He has taught debate at numerous summer debate camps including at the University of Kansas, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, Baylor University and the University of Iowa. He has also taught debate at Beijing Foreign Studies University. As a debater at Wayne State University he was a four time qualifier for the National Debate Tournament, reaching the Quarterfinals in 1981 and the Octafinals in both 1979 and 1980. He was a two time first round at large qualifier to the NDT.  He was 2nd speaker at the NDT in 1981 and 8th speaker in 1980.  He was Top Speaker at numerous tournaments including Dartmouth, Florida State, West Georgia twice and twice at the DSR-TKA National Championship Tournament.  He was a two time winner of the DSR-TKA National Debate Championship including defeating KU in the finals in 1980 and the national runner up in a 3rd appearance losing to KU in the championship debate in 1981. He teaches courses at KU on Rhetoric and Argumentation with a focus on the Rhetoric of Sports, the Rhetoric of War, and Ethics in Political Communication.