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Debate succeeds under new director

Courtesy of JBU forensics
Courtesy of JBU forensics

John Brown University introduces new director Christopher Brown to the forensics and debate team.

Brown comes to JBU from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, where he served as a coach of their nationally ranked program. Brown has also won multiple national championships as a competitor.

The change has been a long process for Brown, but he says it is going well. “With any transition, there’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s getting to know the kids, learning the process. Each institution is different, but JBU has made a great opportunity for me. They’ve given me assistance wherever I’ve needed it. The students here have been just great.”

Brown uses what he calls the “individualized coaching style” when it comes to coaching the team. “You have to treat each member as an individual because each person’s style in debate is going to be different and have different things they need to overcome.”

Brown finds this style to give the best results for the team, and after looking at the past two debates, it seems to be paying off.

The Forensics team traveled to the Union University Bulldog Debates in Jackson, Tennessee to compete against several school in the International Public Debate Association.

Team member Matt Logan, a sophomore business major, won 2nd Place in Novice IPDA Debate, as well as 2nd Place Novice Speaker, which places him in a good standing for season-long awards.

Junior psychology major Julia Bentley advanced to the Quarterfinal Round in Novice IPDA Debate, and the team brought home the Walt Drake Judging Award.

Logan was impressed with how the team did. “We took four people, and it was everyone’s only first or second tournament we’d ever done. So for being as new as we are, were doing pretty good.”

Freshman philosophy major Noah Hackendorf sees the benefit in being on a small team. “We are a very close knit at this point. Coach Brown has been able to give us each the individual attention we need.”

Brown looks forward to getting to know the small group. “I’m excited to see these kids develop their skills because its great to see the wins, but also seeing them develop the things they’ll use after they leave debate is really what makes me happy.”

Brown reminds his students that there are more important things than winning. “We want to win, but we want to win ethically. From the first day of meeting, we started with talking about the values of the team and building up from that.”

Logan said he sees great things ahead for the team with Brown coaching. “He is definitely more encouraging than anything. I think we have a great shot of improving under him.”

The team plans to host a home tournament in early January, a challenge Brown said he looks forward to. They’ll host several colleges from across the nation. “It will be a great opportunity to show off what JBU represents and to show perspective debate students what it’s all really about.”