[eDebate] UCO-I'm Out

Jason Stone ucodebate
Wed May 10 09:30:35 CDT 2006

Debate Community,

As the recent posting of my job to edebate indicates, it appears I will not
be Coaching UCO in the fall.  I am not leaving voluntarily or on good
terms.  Whoever takes this position is in for a real opportunity to prove
themselves.  Despite amazing success, the powers that be have asked me not
to return.

The new department leadership is ego-maniacal and control freakish.  It has
surplused the team's national championship trophy, removed the trophy cases
from the building, ingloriously stored all of the team's CEDA and NDT
trophies in the basement under lock and key.   It has threatened to do away
with the program if I contacted the alumni to support me and is in the
process of removing the team from their squad room in the Communication


After I stood up about the trophy cases, I was suspended and told to move
out of my office.  I was rhetorically lynched with funding and budget
managers; bad mouthed  all over campus; audited; scrutinized; and defamed.
Most injurious of all-my reappointment was changed (against all published
University of Central Oklahoma faculty policies-appeal pending) to a

The Dean is attempting to protect the program, but after our leadership
painted me as the devil, it was an uphill battle for her and she would have
had to stick her neck out really far to keep me.   The path of least
resistance was to side with the powerful departmental leadership.  So that
is what happened.

I am jaded.  I led the team to its most successful season in over 15 years.
  We qualified for the NDT for the first time since the 1980's.  We finished
in the top 20.  We won tournaments in each division.   We had two academic
all-Americans, yet I was non-reappointed without a cause.  I rebuilt the
infrastructure of this program from the ground up.   I fought the fights and
made people upset and raised the profile of the program.  Now I'm

I didn't steal.  I didn't touch the kids.  I didn't wreck the van under the
influence.   I didn't get arrested.  I didn't do anything except stand up to
protect the program's historical legacy from a bully.   A mistake that a
debate coach without tenure can scarcely afford to make.  All I did was turn
this program around, increase every one of the team's operating budgets,
graduate most of the debaters that stayed with me and do an excellent job
teaching my classes.

In fact, our department's leadership has proven itself to be such an
enemy/hater of debate that the program has been removed from the department
and will now be housed in the college of Liberal Arts.  That should save the
program for a while-just not the coach.

I may go back into debate at some point.  But for now, I'm very jaded about
education and about debate.   I had made a lot of personal decisions and had
become the person that I had hoped to grow up and be before I stood up for
the program.  Having my personal life in perfect order was a prerequisite to
taking that type of a risk.   Despite all those personal changes this year
and despite the success of the program, I was cast aside.

I hope that this tale will be cautionary for many of you.  If you don't have
a Ph.D and tenure, then you are just one disgruntled administrator or one
dissatisfied, angry debater from being let go.

I am going to get a regular job and retake the LSAT and eventually go to Law
school or get a PhD.

I didn't apply for other debate jobs because my family has established its
roots in the OKC area.  Andrea has a great job that she loves and has
followed my debate jobs all over the country.   After some soul searching
about it, we decided to stay in OKC.  We'll see what the future holds.  But
for now, it looks like I've left the debate game.   I'm not confident about
another college starting a program in the OKC area.  I don't have a high
school teaching cert and I don't think I have it in me to give this much
ever again.   Maybe time will recharge my batteries and I'll feel safe to
care that much, but for now, I'm spent, exhausted, broken, and bitter.

I often wondered how old people became jaded.  I contemplated how people
burned out and became conditioned to not care.   I was perplexed by the
phenomenon of passionless people.  Now I know why people stop caring.  They
care so much and are wronged.   They try so hard and are hurt that they
elect not to pick themselves up and dust themselves off and try again.
Instead many just quit.   I will lick my wounds.  Reinvent myself.  And
start a new chapter.

I will never forget all my friends and all they did for me.  I don't want to
leave anyone out so I will save my long list of shout outs for later this
month.   Right now I'm too spent to properly praise my compatriots and

My message and hope for you:  stay in school and get your PhD.  Without it
you have no job security.  With it, it takes 5-6 years to be able to stand
up the way you need to.  Play the game with a big degree and an even bigger
heart.    :)

Later, maybe?

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