Major in college
Years on the team
- Competitor from Fall ’93 through Fall ‘96;
- Assistant Coach from Spring ’97 through Fall ‘03
- December 1996 (undergrad)
- May 1999 (grad school)
- May 2003 (law and business school)
What you competed in (ie Speech, Policy, Parliamentary debate)?
Primarily competed in policy, with a little impromptu and extemp. Primarily coached parli, with a little speech and even less policy.
What you liked most about the team?
The friendships and camaraderie. The speech and debate team made the University of Florida feel like a relatively small place, with a great group of friends (who felt more like family than friends).
What you have been doing since you graduated?
I’ve been a practicing attorney in Atlanta, Georgia since graduating, and I’m now a partner with the international law firm of Bryan Cave LLP. We represent community banks in all types of corporate transactions, including raising capital and buying and selling each other.
How you feel like the Speech and Debate Team has impacted you?
Obviously the biggest impact is that it introduced me to my wife and ultimately led to our two kids. For those that can’t be as lucky as I was, I’d say that there’s a reason so many debaters end up in law school; the critical thinking skills developed in debate are useful every day in the practice of law.
Favorite memory of the team?
My partner, Jeff Petersen, and I were in the final round for policy debate at the 1995 state championship. I have absolutely no recollection who we were debating against, but it had been a pretty stressful round, and we receiving oral critiques from the judges before they announced the decision. I recall that Kellie was in the back of the room (having left the tab room to hear the results). One of the judges, a coach of another Florida school, started providing, in my opinion, really stupid comments, and I recall that I said, rather loudly, “Go to Hell.” Notwithstanding my outburst, we won 2-1, picking up the vote of the judge that I had told to go to hell. (Later that day, I had the same judge for an extemp round; I did not advance in extemp.)
Favorite topic you spoke or debated on?
I have absolutely zero recollection of any of the actual topics that I debated. However, I do recall: misspelling Florida (Florlida, I believe) in an elimination round at my first college tournament at the University of South Carolina, debating (and losing) to Florida State, with my parents in the room, that nuclear war was bad (except, as FSU pointed out, it would prevent the aliens from completely destroying us), and, in my last debate round as a competitor, losing in an elimination round (2-1) at Vanderbilt where we ran 12 minutes of topicality in the negative block.