The Whitworth Forensics Team’s coach Mike Ingram received the Coach of the Year award on March 29 as the International Public Debate Association National Tournament at Boise State University came to a close. The Coach of the Year award is decided after a coach has been nominated and the other coaches vote for the nominee they believe to be most deserving of the award.
Ingram was both surprised and humbled to receive this award from his peers, he said.
Other members of the Whitworth Forensics Team were not as surprised to find that Ingram had received the award.
“The amount of time he puts into the forensics program is daunting,” sophomore Liz Jacobs said. “He does the budget, the travel schedule and meets with each of us individually for an hour a week. He cares about us as his team members but also as individuals. I think this speaks volumes to the kind of person he is.”
“Not enough can be said about the influence Mike has on the team,” senior Sam Director said. “He helps us prep and practice, does logistics and our success is a result of him working with the students. He has a phrase: ‘Trophies mean that others see what I already see in you.’ It’s an important philosophical point. We have had a lot of success, but that’s not really what it’s about. It’s not about how many tournaments we win; it’s not the point of what we do.”
The fact that Ingram won the award means that people have noticed his devotion to the program, Jacobs said. He also helps at tournaments, judges competitors and plans their travel itineraries. He interacts with the other competitors and coaches on a professional and personal level and does not hesitate to offer advice that will help an opponent become a better speaker.
At tournaments, Ingram goes out of his way to help both his team members as well as his opponents.
“I see myself as a coach and teacher. When I go to a tournament, I judge and fill out the ballot,” Ingram said. “I like when Whitworth wins, but I think I can play a small part in the students’ lives from other schools to help them become better speakers. I believe this strengthens the forensics community.”
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