Kent Denver's Director of Speech and Debate Mike Bausch has received the Chuck Ballingall Coaching Award, given annually at Notre Dame High School's national tournament to a coach who displays consistent integrity, kindness, intelligence, humor and service to the debate community.
"The person the award represents was a huge presence in the Speech and Debate community, and many people who I really respect have won the award previously," Bausch said. "I really was left speechless when I found out I won. I love the Speech and Debate team and our team culture. I was proud to see that recognized by others in the community."
Bausch was honored by his peers after receiving glowing nominations from a student and a fellow coach in the debate community.
"(Mike) is a kind and excellent coach, has a wonderful sense of humor, and always acts with integrity," says Jasmine Stidham, Debate Coach at Harvard Westlake in Los Angeles. "When Mike judges, he consistently provides helpful feedback and goes out of his way to help students improve. He's not only a fair and good judge by all standards, but he's also the kind of person I genuinely trust to teach my students."
Bausch, now in his sixth year coaching debate at Kent Denver, says that while he's proud of the recognition, he's most proud of the positive impression his students have left with the rest of the debate community—a point echoed by Stidham in her nomination.
"Mike's students are clearly a reflection of him and his leadership," Stidham says. "There's never been a Kent Denver debater I didn't enjoy judging; every Kent student I've interacted with has been nothing but pleasant."
Ishan Tandon '22 also wrote in a nomination for his coach, saying Bausch does a great job of helping the team prepare before difficult rounds.
"However, his presence doesn't stop there," Tandon says. "He makes a fun and engaging environment for all to come participate in debate. His kindness and integrity are displayed when he makes sure that we disclose all of our evidence properly and gives us skills to participate in debate rounds, while being courteous to the opposing team.”
Kent Denver's Speech and Debate team is off to a tremendous start to the 2021-22 season. Collectively, Bausch's students already have three consecutive top-16 finishes on the national circuit, as well as three first-place and eight top-five finishes in local tournaments.