SHSU debate team coaches leave, student coaches take over
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 00:09
The Sam Houston State University speech and debate team has been striving to pull together its program in time for the 2012 season after both of the debate coaches were compelled to leave unexpectedly at the beginning of summer.
Adam Key and Jeremy Coffman restarted the debate program from scratch four years ago and quickly rose to success, winning 11 national titles in the last three years as well as Key being the youngest to receive the Bennett Strange Coach of the Year Award, which he received last season.
Their short lived legacy is being handed down temporarily to two of their former students, Fabiola Sanchez and Robert Trevino, in whose abilities Key has complete confidence.
“I have full faith in them,” Key said. “They have been on the team for three years and I trained them myself.”
Sanchez and Trevino were more skeptical of their abilities and said they were half prepared and half terrified. They spent all summer preparing for the season and are currently working on stepping up as leaders, a change they felt is a huge leap from being a team member.
“We have our first tournament on Friday and it’s a little scary to think that we’re the ones who will have to do all planning and talking to officials,” Trevino said. “It’s a first time for everything.”
Both Key and the new coaches feel as though the team will continue to do as well as it has in the past. Key said he is satisfied Trevino and Sanchez are on the right path. The new coaches feel like despite their lack of experience, the team will be carried on by its members.
“The foundation has always been its members,” Trevino said. “It is the individual’s skills and commitments that will continue to make this program a success.”
Key is currently working in El Paso at Burges High School as a debate coach, but says he will never forget where he started coaching and would love to come back into the college circuit, especially at SHSU.
“The team members at Sam Houston are my kids and I am truly heartbroken to leave them,” Key said.
Sanchez and Trevino are careful to keep in mind that their positions are temporary, since SHSU is currently on a hunt for a debate coach with a Ph.D.
“Even though it would be hard to give up what we have worked for here,” Trevino said, “I know that SHSU will always have debate, and that is what truly matters.”
Last year the SHSU debate team took home the national title in the professional debate division, and season-long title in team debate. Key won both the season-long title in the professional division and coach of the year award.
Trevino is a senior political science major and competed in team debate, and in the varsity and professional divisions last year. In addition, he was one of the SHSU delegation to an international tournament in Rome.
Sanchez is a junior political science major who competed in varsity and team debate last season. She and her partner, Stacy Hood, took second place in the season long team debate format.
The coaches said this year the team will expand the number of styles of debate they compete in, including Lincoln-Douglas, Parlimentary and individual events.
The team will start their season Sept. 7 and 8 at the University of Houston.