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K-State Today

September 6, 2012



No room for debate: Two of the nation's best now guiding university debate team

By Communications and Marketing

Two nationally recognized talents in the debate community are now leading the Kansas State University debate team.

Joe Koehle is the new director of debate, and Martin Osborn is the new assistant director of debate. Both are instructors of communication studies. In addition to coaching, Koehle and Osborn are also teaching multiple courses for the communication studies department, including argumentation, small group communication, and business and professional speaking.

Koehle has been both a debater and coach for 15 years. He coached the University of West Georgia and the University of Kansas, with his teams competing at every major national circuit tournament and at the national tournaments for the National Debate Tournament and Cross Examination Debate Association. He coached a high school team to the finals for both the Catholic Forensics League and National Forensics League in 2003. Most recently he helped coach Kansas State University to the national championship in 2011 and helped two KU teams reach the sweet 16 at the National Debate Tournament.

In his own career, Koehle was the top speaker at Pennsylvania's state high school tournament, and still holds a record margin for the competition. In college he was a four-time qualifier at the National Debate Tournament and was ranked ninth in the nation.

Osborn has seen success as both a coach and debater. He was an assistant coach at both Missouri State University and Wake Forest University, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees, respectively. His debaters at Missouri State reached the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament. While at Wake Forest, Osborn's debaters reached the elimination rounds at the National Debate Tournament two years running, and three of his teams finished the season officially ranked in the top 16. Osborn has also been heavily involved in high school debate, coaching numerous nationally competitive high school programs and teaching at summer debate institutes at the University of Michigan, Stanford University and many other places.

In high school, Osborn was part of the first -- and only -- group of debaters from Wyoming to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, conducted annually in Lexington, Ky. As a college debater, Osborn was named top speaker at the 2008 National Debate Tournament, where he reached the semifinals and was a four-time qualifier for the tournament. He was also the top speaker and semifinalist at the 2008 Cross-Examination Debate Association Tournament, which further recognized Osborn as the Brian "Baby Jo" Johnston Debater of the Year.

The Kansas State University debate team is in the department of communication studies. The team has a long tradition of excellence, which includes winning the national debate championship in 1991, 1993 and 2011.