Top 5 coaches of the decade
Who had great teams? In what numbers? Across how much of the decade? These are pretty obvious questions to ask when trying to come up with a list. Another big thing I considered was how many coaches could duplicate their successes with similar budgets and debaters.
One thing that I found very challenging was I thought of a lot of great coaching staffs and it felt weird to single anyone of them out. When I thought of great teams, I often found multiple good coaches associated with them. So not being as familiar with the inner workings of teams there was a lot of credit splitting at a glance. I feel strongly about three of these and not so sure about the other two. So here goes nothing:
5. Jonah Feldman—Berkeley
I think he started there on immigration. I don’t have precise stats for you. I believe Cal had a first round team every year except on the energy topic.
4. David Heidt---Michigan
I believe he also started there on immigration and coached there through legalization. 7 first rounds, 2x NDT finalists, 1x NDT semifinalists, 1x NDT quarterfinalists. Arg coach extraordinaire.
3. Adrienne Brovero---UMW
Nukes to war powers one of the most impressive runs for a small school in history. I feel safe saying that if you put another coach in charge at Mary Washington, they do not do what Adrienne did, not even close. She is the ultimate professional. She is the only reason the gears of debate keep turning so we all know when and where to show up for stuff. She has taught me the most about being a debate coach and that is when I only take to heart half the stuff she says because I am so dense.
2. Jonathan Paul---Georgetown
Gtown AM=best team ever. Georgetown was a barely functioning program when he took over on nukes (I am pretty sure it was nukes). They were the 2nd best program of the entire decade after that. A true mastermind.
1. Jeff Buntin---Northwestern
If one were to make a list of the top 25 debaters of the decade, I think 7 NU debaters would easily show up: Fisher, Spies, Ryan, Layne, Peyton, Miles and Arjun. He showed up at Northwestern on the ag topic. They have had a team debate on Monday every single year since then.
Literally the entire community reads the shit he cuts. He comes up with some of the best args in the game, not close.
Top 5 judges of the decade
This one is pretty tough. I am going to inject some personal tastes which probably make my answers a bit different than the mainstream. I thought of what one would typically think about, but also two other things. First, I want a judge who is thoughtful but efficient. I can’t have someone who invariably goes to decision time. Sorry Crunk. Second, if I had a debater who was about to have their last debate who would I trust to do it right?
The list in no particular order:
All the topics ranked in order
Qualities of a good topic: Neg gets a DA that is not politics. There is an interesting reform vs. revolution debate to be had. Affs can survive CP’s. The lit base refreshes itself as the year goes on. Aff’s have some ability to generate new Aff’s but the Neg can apply a theme of argument to generate ground (they just might have to do it in a more specific way than the stock iteration of the argument).
10. Democracy---so bad. Democracy assistance generated no real DA’s. Affs happened during the year, but all the Affs were terrible. Six countries with not very much in common at all (besides US democracy assistance did not matter for their fates at all). The orientalism K was a slayer. Just yuck.
9. Immigration---I didn’t think it was too bad at the time. I was still pretty bad at debate back then so I dunno. I think the fundamentals of the topic were pretty weak, but it didn’t matter because midterms and the agenda DA were good so no one cared?
8. Legalization---I kind of have a soft spot for this topic. Reading about PAS, prostitution and organs was just a really unique experience. I think the marijuana debates were reasonable. I still to this day know nothing about online gambling. But objectively these areas were disjointed as hell and legalization didn’t really produce a topic DA that helped insulate the Neg against new affs. Also, we said United States in the resolution but that ending up meaning USFG? So fuck that.
7. Executive Power---Yikes. What a tornado. You know how some things are better than the sum of their parts? This is not one of those fucking things. This was 14 stupid things stapled together then put in a bag with some dog poop then left by your door. But hey, at least there was the Zivotofsky DA.
6. Energy---ah, my first year out. I was always playing catch-up on this topic figuring out how things worked. The debates were reasonable, but not memorable. It doesn’t feel like this was the best energy topic, but they have a pretty high floor. MEH.
5. War Powers---I held this topic in pretty high esteem at the time, but I have softened on that. I still think it was an actively good topic.
4. Healthcare---this topic was good. Everybody who didn’t like it is dumb. Moving on.
3. Climate---I thought this topic was really good. You could write new affs but the Neg had a few different angles and could prepare for them. Didn’t have to go for politics. K debates were really interesting. Good wholesome fun for everyone
2. Nukes---really cool topic. Just some epic throwdowns across a wide swath of areas. So many things you could talk yourself into reading 50 cards about in a debate.
1. Military Presence---Okinawa! Marines! Rotational presence! The things that made the topic great! Never really got tired of this topic. I really enjoyed what UK did on this topic and was a personal favorite to coach.
NDT hosts ranked
So I reject the premise of this question. Best NDT host of the decade maybe should be an accolade. But not all ten ranked. NDT hosting is thankless. I can only imagine the heightened stress and complexity of it being the most important tournament. I really enjoyed Minnesota and Kansas and Berkeley. I wasn’t wild about Binghamton in March but that has nothing to do with hosting skills.
Best regular season tournament
Gonzaga has a restaurant right next to their tournament hotel called Blackbird that is incredible, so they win.