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USU Eastern debate team is no more, but 30-year record lives on

March 3rd, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

By Shadayah Jones
USU Eastern Eagle Staff Writer

PRICE—For more than 30 years, Neil Warren was the debate coach at what was then the College of Eastern Utah. During his career, he and his students won 202 national team trophies and 125 plaques. Some of those trophies are being displayed in the West Instructional Building in a case that is 24 feet long, 6-and-a-half feet tall, and 2 feet deep.

The story behind the display started with a promise between Warren and former CEU President Ryan Thomas. When the old Main Building was torn down, the debate trophies were stored in the attic of the SAC building “temporarily” until a proper case could be built. Eight years later, although the debate team was dissolved in 2000, Chancellor Joe Peterson and Vice Chancellor Brad King set up a fundraiser to raise money for the trophy case.

Most of the awards that now occupy the new display case are the debate team’s national awards, because although the case is huge, it’s not big enough for all of the trophies that the CEU/Eastern debaters have brought home over the years. Aside from the national awards on display, all are team awards are included, and all individual first-place prizes.

Most of the trophies were won when Warren was the coach, although some are from before and after his time. The earliest are from 1951 and the most recent is from 2000, the year the debate team was dropped.

Warren had been a debate coach for 37 years—at Carbon High School for five years and 32 years at CEU. In 1991, Warren and his students won 272 team and individual trophies, what Warren calls a phenomenal record that the team beat the next year with a total 273prizes.

Given that kind of record, it’s not surprising that Warren doesn’t really know how many trophies he and his teams earned while he was coach. But he is happy that they are now on a permanent display at USU Eastern.

“I feel wonderful that the trophies are now on display,” Warren said. “It is not for me, but for the kids who did all of the work. They, or anyone, can visit USU Eastern and see the display and say that they did a good job. And that is the truth; they worked hard and did a great job.”


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