College Policy Debate Forums

DISCUSSION => Open Topic -- Any issue => Topic started by: stables on December 23, 2009, 04:15:34 PM

Title: Scott Deatherage
Post by: stables on December 23, 2009, 04:15:34 PM
I am sorry to pass along the very sad news that Scott Deatherage, the longtime Northwestern Director of Debate, was rushed to the hospital last night in Chicago. His condition is very grave and he remains in the ICU.  His family is with him and they have asked to pass this information along.

At this time of year please keep our Northwestern friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: stables on December 23, 2009, 11:12:41 PM
Dan Shalmon posted the following update on facebook just a few minutes ago.

L. Scott Deatherage Medical InfoShare
 Today at 12:00am
Just so everyone has the right set of facts. First is a summary of Duck's current condition, which was accurate as of 6pm CST, according to the nurse's station at NU and Duck's sister, Diana. The text is from Dr. David Glass, MD, who spoke with her and the hospital.

Just so you know... Scott is no longer in the ICU, but is being maintained
on life support on a medical floor. His prognosis is very very poor; he was
without a pulse for at least fifteen minutes, is currently being maintained on life
support, and is currently demonstrating
no higher neurological function.

Scott's sister gave me permission to communicate this information...

Sorry that there is not better news...


Second message contains background information, from a Northwestern Debate alum, also an MD. I don't have permission to use his name, so I didn't.

I also just spoke with Duck's sister and she's doing amazingly well under the circumstances. She told me pretty much all of the medical events happening, and she gave me the green light to let everyone know what's going on with the medical details if that helps you. Please feel free to fwd this to any and all of his friends that need or want to know more details.

Scott suffered from a sudden rupture of the blood vessels surrounding his esophagus (variceal bleeding), which is very difficult to control. He had also been suffering from a severe gastric ulcer for quite some time. My understanding based on what his sister told me was that he called 911 and by the time they arrived, Scott had already gone into cardiac arrest from blood loss. He was revived and transferred to the ER then the ICU at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He underwent several invasive, emergent procedures and surgeries as well as many blood transfusions, and he is hemodynamically stable but in very critical condition. The surgeons were able to control the bleeding, but the duck had gone without oxygen for quite some time.

As most of you know, then, his sister told me that his neurologic status is not good. He remains intubated in the intensive care unit on life support and artificial blood pressure support. She tells me that his pupils are non-reactive and that all of the physicians involved in his care -- at this point -- do not expect him to have any meaningful recovery.

She, as his eldest sibling, is also his healthcare proxy. She thanks us all immensely for our thoughts and prayers, and she says she has some very difficult decisions to make in the next day or two. Please continue to think about her and pray for everyone involved during this difficult time.

I know he meant and means so much to all of us, and he touched us all in different but very profound ways. He was my mentor, confidant and friend, and I am very VERY glad to have seen him only four days ago when we celebrated and had a wonderful dinner together. I miss him very much already. If I can help answer any of the medical questions, please feel free to email me directly. God bless.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 24, 2009, 09:31:07 AM
My thoughts are with my good friend in Chicago today and his sister Diana.  Hard to find a way to experience any joy when my heart is so heavy.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: Rhaesa on December 24, 2009, 11:12:02 AM
Very sad news.  Scott started debate as a sophomore in high school on the comprehensive medical care topic.  His affirmative was about nursing home abuse based on the book Tender Loving Greed.  From that beginning a giant developed. 
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 06:35:22 AM
From Dan Shalmon:
All -

Just received word from the hospital that Scott has passed away.

The plan was to take him off of life support early this morning. To be clear, I do not know if they removed life support or not; only that Scott has passed away. Regardless, I am pasting my earlier Facebook-only update from 8pm for those who missed it. Thanks to Erin Simpson who pointed out that some people do not or cannot use social networking websites. There are a lot of redundant e-mail lists and I don't know who reads stuff on Facebook, so I'm just trying to ping everyone I think may have missed the info before. I apologize for any information overload that results.
Current as of 8pm 12/24/2009
I spent today at the hospital with Scott, so this information is first-hand and current as of the date/time above. If it contradicts what you've heard, you are likely dealing with well-intentioned but erroneous information.

After listening to all the medical and spiritual advice on offer, Scott's family decided to take him off of life support early on the morning of the 25th. I can say with 100% certainty that the best medical minds, including several debate community members believe everything that could be done for him has been done.

There has been no change in his neurological condition; he is still unresponsive and there is no measurable activity in his brain. He is bleeding quite a bit and several of his organ systems have failed. Without large doses of medicine and machines to breathe and maintain his blood pressure, he is likely to pass away very quickly.

We did our best to relay messages from friends who loved Scott and wanted to say goodbye. We read him text messages, placed notes in his bed, held phones to his ear, and thought loving thoughts in his direction all day. There weren't many of us here, but the debate community was present and showed Duck as much love and admiration as possible.

It's Christmas, and we're losing a great man. Mourn the loss but celebrate the gifts he imparted in life.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 06:40:54 AM
From Tripp Rebrovik:
Duck believed in me enough to give me my first real job; he crystallized for me, and all of us, what true debate is like; he exemplified, and always will, how to *teach* debate; and he is still my only mentor who can understand, through his own experiences, the trials of my personal life. What is my world like without him?
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 06:45:16 AM
From Luke Hill: (Late on December 24)

Hi All,

I just returned home from the hospital where I saw Duck for, what I believe, will be the last time.  He is resting comfortably and seems to be at peace.

The doctors have said that, unfortunately, they have already done all they can for him and as such, Duck will be taken off of life support early tomorrow morning.  I spoke with his sister, Diana (she is the epitome of grace and strength at this very dark moment) and she says that there will most likely be a small ceremony in the near future in Friendswood, TX for family and friends, and that she hopes to have a larger memorial later for him in Chicago for all us debate folk, as well as the many other friends he has here and throughout the United States.

I was there by his side, along with Fisher, Sparky, Shalmon, Danielle Wiese-Leek and Jason Leek.  We all had private moments with him, and I was also able to read all of your messages to him as well.  Somehow, I know he could hear us and feel the love bursting forth, not just from everyone in the room, but from all of you who could not be there as well.

Having been so close to Duck, I know exactly how you all must feel at this moment.  I am sure the hour seems dark and the outlook bleak.  Just know that Duck is now at peace and that he will continue to live on through all of us.

Feel free to call, email or text if you need to talk and I'll keep you all posted as I work with his sister through this process.

Happy holidays to all -- please remember to say, "I love you" to those you hold close on this Christmas Eve.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 07:11:31 AM
From David Cheshier:
The awful news that Scott Deatherage's life journey may soon end brings a flood of memories. We debated each other. The world knows about his stupendous debate successes -- I've never known a harder working coach -- but what I most recall is how gentle and kind and funny he was, even in his most competitive moments...... How agonizing to imagine those sentences in the past tense...
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 07:55:05 AM
From Kandi King:
I have been up since early am and have done nothing much but think of Scott and the wanting to know. . .

I will probably say this over and over and over. . . my debate coaching career so much began with Scott as my lab leader at the teacher institute at Baylor who patiently guided me as I began my journey with my new family.  He towered over me and we made such a funny looking team!  And we had such fun that summer!  Ironically, he taught me; I taught Tristan; he taught Tristan . . . what a lovely circle we came!

To all of you in the debate community, I have a wonderful family -- not just my Mama, sister and brothers and all of our children -- but my debate family!  My love to all of you on the day many of us celebrate our love . . .and celebrate our love for Scott."
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 08:12:06 AM
From Marie Dzuris:
It is with a heavy heart that I greet this Christmas morning. It all continues to seem unreal. Scott, we love you and will miss you more than words can describe. My prayers and hugs to all family and friends who are struggling with this as well.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:23:23 AM
From Asher Haig:
"The Duck"
The Duck
 Today at 1:43am
It was during the migration that it struck me. The journey south always came as something of a shock. I knew that it had happened before; that it was happening again was not what got to me.

He had explained all of this to me at some point. Conservation of energy, patterns of political engagement; everything seemed to come down to resources. Still, I wondered why I kept repeating myself, reiterating the same behavior as if to show myself some point I had yet to witness. He himself must have been witness to countless migrations; no doubt some had even made their own return, stories of their own right.

In the longer days he had revealed insights that remained obscure to others; a small tweak in perspective and off we went. As the days got shorter, a single image returned: head waggling, arms swinging, legs waddling in a fashion that has perhaps nowhere else been imagined more terrifyingly exigent. It was hardly any different when he sat, there in the back of the scene, an uncertain gaze fixing itself nowhere in particular. His very presence seemed a story to itself, inexplicable and on edge, as if in an uncertain formation between flight and ... something else entirely. Nevertheless, one always had a sense he was listening, as if truly aware of my own intuitions—even if he were only to summarily dismiss them a moment later in favor of his own abundant proclivities.

The scene hardly mattered; gated community or urban development, he showed up just the same, tending to his proper pond and its surroundings. Like any bird, he seemed a determined drifter; the very sense of his being seemed to suggest that he wandered counter to the snake, along the only path he ever knew. No doubt this path would return yet again, but for now it seemed something different, as if at any moment he might once again turn to me as if to say: "you're clearly not as dumb as you look!"— or perhaps more likely to express a simple sentiment: "it doesn't even matter what I think, it only matters what you think".

It was no doubt that his presence would be missed. Perhaps next year he would return, as if the same yet in some other form— another duck entirely. This was almost certainly the link that brought me back to migration. I knew that this had happened before and that it would likely happen at least once more; this much I kept repeating to myself and to others. What moved me now was a simple matter of reflection and admiration— for the raw force of his wake.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:24:29 AM
From Kenda Cunningham:

Still not sure what to say about it all. Duck, thanks for all you did and for believing in me and so many others. This morning I'm trying to focus on the good times we all had with him.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:25:58 AM
From Sean McCaffity:

Peace be with you, Duck. I love and miss you more than you'd ever imagine. You were always there for me and will always be in my heart and mind. Thank you so very very much for being one of the most influential forces in my life.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:27:20 AM
From Brad Hall:

Loss of Ross and Duck this year makes me think that: 1) we should all strive to live our lives such that we inspire and touch so many others; 2) in heaven/wherever, there's a great (albeit cranky without coffee) panel developing
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:28:06 AM
From Alan Coverstone:

Ross was a father figure to me. Duck was my favorite uncle. Long year but when I really think it through, there are still so many important family members left to cherish.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: mburshteyn on December 25, 2009, 09:46:37 AM
Today the gentlest giant moved on from this world. His passion and spirit was bigger than the game, and larger than life. The image of the Duck pacing and rocking out with his giant headphones at more than one NDT will not die. The methodical sound of a stapler tapping (ok, it was banging ☺) on a desk at Northwestern to demonstrate that we could speak faster than the self-imposed limits of our assumptions will not leave memory. Duck personified a love of debate that was latent in many, and he brought it to the fore. Thank you for every single moment. Thank you for being a role model, an inspiration, a teacher, and a friend. Thank you that in your all too brief time, you found it within you to light a fire across generations.

Here are the words that sparked a life-long passion for me:

1)   Chose. No matter the speech or the argument
2)   Offense.  Don’t ask, argue. Anticipate your opponents warrant and undermine its credibility before they develop an dexplanationn in the first instance – the 1ac is about the 2AR – don’t answer the argument as it is but as it will be
3)   Clash – the most difficult. Competing credibilities. One argument – the nexus question
4)   Control the ground of the debate –=– its always about the link The link is the springboard from which virtually every objection of your opponent is to be addressed. If the negative says alternative causality – answer it with a robust defense of your link and solvency arguments. Frame uniqueness arguments in terms of linkage – say tpa is key to us leadership – say the plan derails that repair
5)   Cover smart – technique is not debating. Form can never substitute for substance. Coverage is about CHOOSING the RIGHT arguments. Knowing where the nexis question is located. Rebuttle thinking should begin and end with an anticipation of where the nexus question lies
6)   Make every argument count. If you cannot visualize how a particular argument can help in the last rebuttal, don’t invest in it. The best strategies are SEAMLESS. WHERE EACH ARGUMENT IN THE 1NC HAS A REALTIONSHIP TO EVERY OTHER 1NC ARGUMENT. It makes it the hardest for the affirmative – a single mistake ca n determine the outcome
7)   Anticipate and know – he knew where the debate would be better than the other team knew where the debate would be. He knew more about their arguments than they did. He figured out where the opposition desired to be in their last rebuttal
“every day you must do better than the day before”
“win or lose, you will never regret working hard, making sacrifices, being disciplined, or focusing too much. Success is measured by what we have done to prepare for competition”
8)   style and substance are fundamentally inseperable. The three modes of proof = ethos, credibility, logos. Ethos is the most important – the credibility of your argument is most important. The way the judge feels about your argument is important. Juddges want to vote for strong, well reasoned, well evidenced arguments – but they are not simply machines.  – its not an information processessor – what the judge thinks and feels is important – make thejudge want to vote for you
9)   judge the debate – think about why your opponent has won the debate. Devote the first 30 seconds of 2nr and 2ar prep time to tthis – if the judge is going to resolve the nexus question, which side will it go towards- figure out the strength of your opponents position on the nexus question
a)   give the other team credit. No, you are NOT ahead on every single answer – that’s the solution to the black, white, grey conundrum
b)   think about the 1ac – it is a key that unlocks thesecrets that are code for the 2ar
c)   2NR is NOT about answering the 1ar – It is about answering the 2AR. Think about how 1ar arguments will flow into paragraphs and establish a world for the 2ar.

10)   Narrate the debate. Write a ballotr for the judge. It’s a substantive process of argument and evidence comparison. The narration weaves back and forth between the offensive link argumenttce between what you define and the defensive arguments of what the other team defines – evidencec comparison is about plagerize – the process of comparison  is not the process of citations or claims, it’s a comparison process that tests the competing credibility of warrents.  – keep comparisons centered on the nexus question
11)    Teamwork – Michael jorden “the talent wins games, but the teamwork wins championships” “the past is relevant only insofar as it informs the future” (the duck) pat rielly “the truly great actors go out of their way to ensure that supporting actors are brilliant because they want the play to be great”Jaime coven “it is important to respect both your teammates and your opponents. Friendships can make victory last forever” phil Jackson “ we alone can destroy our championship opportunity
12)   prepare to win . its about the details. Its about brainstorming. Strategizing. Research. Practice. Block writing. Strategies. Preparing to win at the championship level means taking EVERY REALISTIC THREAT SERIOUSLY – the teams, the arguments, the strategies, their options. It means babysitting the judges – that they know you are there and you care. It means managing preparation effectively. It means in critical situations – while most competitors in the tournament are busy hobnobbing, the critical teams are preparing for critical instances. At crunch time, you have to have focus. It means preparing for the next debate effectively – especially on elim day. ONE DEBATE AT A TIME. We didn’t approach it as lets be 13 and one in December, we approached it as lets get this game, lets get this game. It means discipline, focus, and concentration. All must rise to a level unlike that you had before. “confidence is only borne out of one thing – demonstrated ability. You cannot dream up confidence. You cannot fabricate it. You cannot wish it. You have to earn it” YOU HAVE NO BIRTHRIGHT BUT YOU MUST EARN YOUR SUCCESS the octofinals is NOT round seven. THERE ARE NO AWARDS FOR FIRST PLACE ON DAY ONE – THEY ARE GIVEN ON THE LAST DAY, NOT THE FIRST DAY
13)   Focus and concentration – these are the keys. Together they unlock the secrets. The secrets are the fundamentals – choice, clash, offense, before the rest. Luganis “ you always want your opponent to have a carreer day. Because that will elevate your performance to a level that you did not know you were capable of” chris evret “ single mindedness, that’s what it takes to be a champion.”
14)   Greatness. Only two names are engraved on whatever trophy there is in question. Hundreds have been great – its about commitment, its about character – its about hard work and team work.
  Luganis – “victory is not necessarily a gold medal”
Carl lewis – “its all about the journey, its not about the outcome”

Alexander Mikeljohn – American philosopher of 20th century – debaters rock

Quote on the wall at UNI – never be afraid of taking calculated risks in your work and your personal life. Be willing to work harder and longer at your craft than the next person. Never settle for being good at something when you can be great learn to b e hard on yourself when you didn’t give it your best and easy on yourself when your best isn’t quite good enough. Know that failing means only that you did not achieve your desired goal. That the sooner you take the word cant out of your vocabulary the better off your life will be

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 10:34:21 AM
From Jonathan Paul:

 "Never settle for being good at something when you can be great. Learn to be hard on yourself when you didn’t give it your best and easy on yourself when your best isn’t quite good enough." I'll miss you, Duck.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 10:43:18 AM
From Christopher Robins:

If I could talk to Duck one last time I'd tell him: "Words cannot express how much you have enriched my life. Thank you for your love, encouragement, and dedication. WILDCATS FIGHT AND WILDCATS WIN. Love you Duck.

Larry Scott Deatherage - A great mind, a better coach, and an even better friend
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 10:44:16 AM
From John Warden:

If I could talk to Duck one last time I'd tell him: "Thank you for all the time I got to spend with you. And, you should know that your legacy at Northwestern and throughout debate will live on forever."
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 10:45:25 AM
From Caitlin Bruce:

sad day. misses duck. wants to have another fight about what exactly a "kritiker" does say and hearty agreement about the yankees. much love to his family and the nu debate family.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 10:47:18 AM
From Gregory Friend:

duck always used to say debate saved him. looking back, I think I'm not alone when I say that often it seemed like duck saved me. As he used to say, "once in the family, always in the family" - words we should all live by, just as he did.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 11:12:31 AM
From David Coale:

says farewell to Duck. May his intellect and great heart live on in all of us.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 11:43:03 AM
Gabe Murillo wrote:

The words and actions of the Duck inspired us all. I remember being very happy to have him receive George's coaching award, and being even happier with the thoughts he shared in his acceptance speech. He will be missed. My thoughts are with those close to him.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 12:05:19 PM
From Laura Ann Switzer:

"The Duck left such a remarkable legacy in all the lives that he mentored and touched with his brilliance and dedication to the art and skill that is debate.  He instilled in all his students a love and respect for the spoken word that you all, who were his students I am confident, will continue his passsion  in his stead. I know that he will be greatly missed, but remember all the joy that he brought to your hearts and minds and his constant challenge to you all to be the best at your craft.  God bless."
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 01:20:19 PM
From Josh Branson:

So long coach. I'm sure you've already tracked down Ross and have started an early Happy Hour, replete with discussions of the heaven edition of the NYFT, rehashing some old debates, and lots of Makers on the rocks.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 01:22:27 PM
From Alex Berger:
Mourns the passing of another legend in the college debate community. More than anything, I'm struck by how much my experience and DNA as a debater was influenced by Duck despite never having debated for him or gone to NU's camp. I came into college debate trying to emulate his debaters, was coached by his alums, and... engaged in the most rewading competition of my life against his teams. He will sorely missed.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 01:24:02 PM
From Jim Lux:
In some corner of heaven, Coach's Cafe, Davis St. and Wise Fool's are open serving Diet Coke and steak fajitas. The 'Boys are trouncing the 'Skins and Gottleib/Shalmon (neg) are facing Ryan/Morales in the Friendswood Suite. Audible music and conditionality are gone. On Earth, his many friends are cherishing his memory.... Merry Christmas to all those friends, and many thanks to all who were with him in his final days.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 01:42:50 PM
From Latonya Starks:
Good Morning and Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate the holiday -- happy holidays to all.


The sad news of Duck's passing is now official.  I do not know all the details, but I do know that he passed this morning. 


I know this news has the potential to ruin what should be a wonderful day and time of celebration for us all.  Please do not let it do so.  In my religion -- which has its roots in the Baptist, African-American churches of the South -- we try not to view death as a loss, but as a person 'going home' or moving on to a better place.  We are the ones who have been blessed to have had Duck in our lives, and he did indeed change our lives forever.  Whether you subscribe to a spiritual outlook on life or not, I believe that we can all find some solace in knowing that our beloved Duck is now at peace and that it was our loving thoughts, prayers, and words that brought him such comfort.  He left us with the same grace and strength which he exemplified in a life well-lived.


May he rest in peace and may we go forward knowing that his legacy will live on forever in us.  Let future generations of Northwestern debaters know the importance of the four pillars: character, commitment, team work and hard work, and let his light shine through you in all you say and do.  Dare to strive for the greatness he both sought and attained so often.


I love you all and I wish you happy and joyous holidays.

In the words of Duck, "See ya, bye".

Peace and joy,

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: jbhoe on December 25, 2009, 02:15:21 PM

Thanks for the hundred times you pulled me aside after judging my teams and talked to me about what I should work with them on.  Thanks for giving me so many encouraging words and so much support as a young coach.  Thanks for being so gracious the few times my teams were able to beat yours.  Thanks for giving me so much great coaching and life advice.  Thanks for letting me inside the intimidating outer personna to see the truly good person inside.  Thanks for being a mentor to me in the best sense of the term.  Nobody ever did it better.  Thanks especially for caring about the larger debate community and those that should be part of the community but needed to be included.

Go in peace, you left the world a better place,


Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 02:24:07 PM
From Jon Blough

The values that the Duck passed down will continue to profoundly impact both my debate activities and how I approach everyday life. His commitment and passion for coaching was an inspiration and I consider myself blessed to have debated for him even if only for a year. Though he is no longer with us, what he gave to the debate community will continue to guide us for many years to come.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 02:27:58 PM
From Hajir Ardebili:

is grateful to Duck for tirelessly coaching his debaters to kick my butt while regularly offering me advice with a sincere desire to help me hone my craft. I still have your UK final round ballot, on which you scrawled your vote: "Aff -- Kansas (again)." Be at peace, Duck, knowing that your love for this activity and its members will forever be cherished.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 02:29:02 PM
From Michael Klinger:

Hard to feel merry this Christmas. Duck was not just a friend, but also a mentor who taught me as much as any of my actual coaches. I think toward the end of the 13 secrets to success speech he said, "Never settle for less than greatness." As long as I knew him, he never did.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 02:42:01 PM
From Brittany Blair:

mourns the loss of Duck on this cold grey Christmas.The debate world will never be the same without him...
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 02:47:44 PM
From Geoffrey "Goof" Garen

Missing the Duck.

I'll never forget the time the Duck unwittingly violated his own "no audible music" rule when, on the bus ride back from the NDT, he blared "we are the champions" into his headphones so loudly that you could hear it in the back of the bus. On repeat. For hours. With singing.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 03:08:21 PM
From Christopher Mair:

Can't really describe how grateful I am to have had those few encounters with one of the best coaches the debate community has ever seen. Hearing his speech as a HS freshman had such an impact on how I approached debate as a whole. The conversation we had about how excited I was to be an incoming freshman at NFLs and the advice he gave me thereafter I will remember forever. Thank you Scott Deatherage. Go U, NU.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 03:20:39 PM
From Stephanie Spies:

 "I will fly you out to meet alumni. I will do whatever it takes to convince you that you should debate in college, and that it should be here at NU." -- Duck (summer '07 to me as a debate-wary GBN grad). Words cannot describe the impact you've had on my life and the NU debate team. Thank you for everything. You will be greatly missed.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: MasonMiller on December 25, 2009, 03:36:57 PM
Seventeen years ago I wandered out of a small high school in the middle of Kentucky and found my way to Northwestern, much to Duck's initial chagrin.  I think there were 16 other freshmen at the Hardy House that Fall, of which I believe 15 were ahead of me on the totem pole (I am happy to know I was ahead of the guy I remember only as "Bhutan Man").

Four years later, I was sitting in a conference room at the National Debate Tournament being handed the Copeland Award (with a wee bit of assistance from McCaffity), the last big accomplishment my father would see me reach in life before cancer took him from me. As much thanks as I owe my teammates for my success, I owe Duck twice as much.  

Just this past month I received a letter from Duck which, as usual, was written in his borderline indecipherable duckscratch that often requires a few drinks to translate.  I've still got it in my bag as I was waiting for the right time to pull it out, pour a little bourbon and scribble a response back.  I guess this will have to serve as my belated response:

Duck - I can only assume you are reading this from somewhere up above, rocking out with your headphones on, giving that big 2AR in the sky. I always said it would take an act of God and/or divine intervention for you to be able to cover; I guess you've shown me now. 

We'll all miss you down here, and don't worry - we'll all make sure we're not the last group of young folks who's lives are changed for the better by debate.

Mason Miller

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 04:50:07 PM
From Annie Kastanek:

As the clock turns to Christmas, I say farewell to my coach, my mentor and a dear friend. It's impossible to put into words how much he meant to me. He gave me opportunities I never imagined, was an unwavering support during the worst of times, my champion during the best of them. I am grateful that I was able to say goodbye to him, and can only hope that he knows how loved he was. He will forever be in my heart.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: DoyleSrader on December 25, 2009, 05:21:56 PM
I worked one summer for Scott as he wrapped up his dissertation while directing the Baylor workshop. I was judged by him and judged alongside him. He encouraged me, gave me good advice, poked fun at me, and I was always happy to see him.

I'm ten years out of the activity this year, but he was still on the short list of people whose latest doings I always wanted to hear about.

Well done, Scott. Well lived. Wish we'd kept you longer.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 06:44:23 PM
From Scott's Family:

Greetings friends,

As most of you know by now, Scott passed away very early this morning.  In his last two days, he was surrounded by friends and loved ones.  Scott's family is still working to deal with the immediate practical challenges of this tragedy, and has not yet set a time or place for a funeral or memorial service.  Plans for those events, however, are in the works for the near future, and we will make sure you are all informed as soon as they are finalized.  Thank you all for your continued patience and support -- it has meant the world to Scott's family.

Warmest regards and a Merry Christmas to all those celebrating,
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 07:17:08 PM
From Dave Arnett:

Duck was a Berkeley hack. He was incredibly giving of advice on how to build a program and our ranting sessions at the bar are among my favorite memories in debate. His love for debate and his students will always be a source of inspiration. I feel very lucky we became such good friends and miss him greatly.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 08:50:39 PM
From Corey Stoughton:

the Duck showed me that I was talented when I didn't know it, and he wasn't even "my" coach. I hardly knew him in any real sense, but he made an enormous impact on my life. I wish I had done something while he was with us to let him know how grateful I am.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 08:51:58 PM
From Lindsay Harrison:

LH is toasting to the Duck, who always made me feel better and smarter than I was, even when he voted against me.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 08:54:08 PM
From Heather Walters:

“win or lose, you will never regret working hard, making sacrifices, being disciplined, or focusing too much. Success is measured by what we have done to prepare for competition”
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 08:54:17 PM
From Caitlin Bruce:

Subject: Situational Awareness

Four moments.  First, as a terrified pre-frosh at my first one on one meeting with the duck as an official Northwestern student.  Carefully studying the giant bottle of Maker's Mark, wondering what the hell it is, I received a lecture not about debate strategy but about formatting-- margin spaces for the institute packet had to be exactly one inch to the sides, 1.5 inches on top and bottom, with an undefined number of spaces between institute header and text.  The meeting ended with him offering his regret that my partner-to-be had chosen another school-- I was shocked he remembered a talk we had had nine months earlier for about six minutes at the Emory tournament.  I went through about ten drafts of the institute packet-- "Don't be afraid to interrupt me if I am in a meeting-- we need to get this right!"  I had no idea Duck cared so deeply, and passionately, about Times New Roman calibration.

Second, four years later in a hotel room with LT, highlighting the last of my new affirmatives before day one of my first, and only NDT, Jason Rickard stopped by to drop off a flat-- and I mean a flat, fifty or so, of diet red bulls.  "Duck didn't want to get you any initially" he said "What the fuck?!" was my immediate response "He said he knows that you and LT only drink redbull with vodka."

Third, Day two at the NDT-- Jason gives Rob and I each a pack of cigarettes "Duck told me to keep them in my back pack-- otherwise you would smoke them all at once."  The rest of the tournament camel lights were distributed carefully, and lasted through the prelims.

None of these are particularly unique instances, in fact, they are really banal.  Duck and I rarely talked about things beyond the logistics of debate, with a dash of reference to boy issues and New York being sweet.  My respect and love for him is indelibly based in his total passion, commitment, and drive for excellence in the smallest of things, from recognizing his debater's smoking habits and trying to moderate them, to being concerned with the aesthetics high schoolers (and potential recruits) are met with on their first day of institute, and being involved in the most mundane tournament planning details.  He knew that when in the heat of battle most debaters frankly don't know their ass from their elbow and cannot find their way from the ground floor of a university building to the bathroom.  And I am profoundly grateful for that.

Banal interactions comprise the majority of most relationships, and they coagulate to create an experience, a memory and a bond.  When I first met the Duck he was a larger than life figure: he made debate magical.  I can honestly say that since the summer of 2003 his words created an umbrella, a framework for my work habits and a sort of horizon that I never reached but always burned in front of me (for better or worse).

I wish I understood earlier how much all of these practices, that sometimes appeared to border on the obsessive, the tyrannical, and the insane, were based out of a love, not of merely winning itself, but for our (his students') growth.

A final vignette.  The day before the NDT my senior year.  His last year coaching at Northwestern.  "Do not try and win this for me, do it for yourselves, do it for your teammates..." and "Nothing worth having ever comes easy."

 The ability to be an astounding figure of inspiration while still stepping back to leave room for us debaters to take responsibility for our losses and victories is a tough balancing act.  It is an admirable one, and it is a brilliant example for teaching in a general sense.  He was eminently human: flawed, contradictory, and enigmatic.  He cared so deeply about all of us, I always said he has a "good heart" and that doesn't seem to begin to cover it....and is ironic in the worst way.  His injunction, that we should debate for each other explains in a basic sense what he accomplished-- he brought about the conditions that made it possible for us to want to debate FOR each other, and ultimately, to be for each other-- as friends and as debate family.  That nothing worth having ever comes easy is not a lesson for debate-- it is a framework to understand most meaningful relations-- or rather, most meaningful friendships contain an element of antagonism, and these are generative, creative, and beautiful.  The past two days have been awful, and I cannot even begin to imagine what they have held for his family, and those closer to him than I.  But they also have produced-- and the material evidence for this  is all over the tubes-- a reinvigorated sense of community.  They have reminded me that community is not based on a specific space or even requiring of continual assertions of belonging.  It endures through memories, through  a sense of shared loss and empathy, and these practices of shared grief.

As a teacher, a friend, a mentor, a hero, and a special kind of debate family, I love and miss you so much Duck.  Thank you for inspiring me, for bringing me to my Northwestern debate family.
The Hardy House will never be the same.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 08:56:49 PM
From William John Sullivan aka "Sully" :

Duck, Thanks for that long chat after the Kentucky RR round against Michigan -- that advice stuck with me for a long time. Thanks for semi-secretly rooting for us (except when you were too busy kicking our ass, which, yeah, thanks). Thanks for all the drinks and stories on the corner of the Applebee's bar.
Thanks for proving that you can be both a frustratingly unbeatable competitor and an inspiring educator. I wish I'd known you better but I know enough to miss you.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 09:00:03 PM
From Kristin Langwell:

Goodbye to a friend and mentor who constantly reminded me, even when I didn't believe it, that I belonged and mattered. Thanks for the friendship, the advice, encouragement and support. Grateful for the chance to have known you Duck...
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:01:38 PM
From Monte Stevens:

thinks it's sad that in this, the season of giving, I am once again mourning the loss of one of a debate icon. When Eric and I were making our "NDT debut" at Northwestern, the first person welcome us to the club was Duck. From then on, he was supportive of my success as a competitor and a coach. I will never forget ...his generosity and his support. My thoughts are with the Northwestern debate family.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:02:43 PM
From Sanket Bulsara:

fondly remembers how Duck gave him and Carl tickets to the 1996 Rose Bowl and treated us like we were part of his NU debate family that day, telling us that we would learn a little something about real college football. A wonderful man with a big heart who will be sorely missed.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:04:53 PM
From Christopher Martin:

Scott Deatherage, Executive Director of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, one of the winningest college debate coaches of the last two decades and my friend for 25 years, is no longer with us. The joyous holiday season has been tempered for all of us whose lives were impacted by his brillance, his enc...ouragement and his kindness. Duck, you will be missed but your legacy lives on in the lives of those whom you influenced across the country.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:06:57 PM
From Eric Lanning:

'Just promise you will debate somewhere, I'd recommend Northwestern, but really anywhere will do, please just debate' - The Duck. I will never forget his passion for life and debate, it was the definition of inspiring. My thoughts and prayers are with the Wildcats tonight.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 09:40:30 PM
From Lauren Weinstein (NU '07)

Grateful to Duck for all the great memories of institutes, rogers houses, and tournaments. Wishing love and comfort to all my NU debate friends. Merry Christmas Eve and Feliz Noche Buena

Had a great Christmas, but it was tempered with loss. Much love to all my NU debate friends, Duck you will be missed and remembered
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 25, 2009, 09:58:42 PM
From Eric Morris:

is really sad about Duck's passing. I had the honor to vote with him on what I believe was his last college panel (NDT octos, 2008). Although I did get my chance to speak, there wasn't much needing to be said, as his decision was thorough. There are really few people with such an overwhelming effect on improving the q...uality of college debate in the last few decades. He was such a class act!

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 25, 2009, 10:39:00 PM
From Seth Gannon (WFU '09):

Couldn't fall asleep tonight until I wrote down these three episodes. If you read only one, make it number three, so you know why I will be eternally thankful to Duck.

I got 80% of the way to the tag limit with NU people alone. Trying to tag a limited number of people from memory is really hard, so I'm very sorry if I left you off. I promise I didn't mean anything by it.

I love all of you and should probably tell you that more often.


1. Summer 2003, Evanston: Duck watched one of my practice debates at camp, in the Hardy House. Sixty-five seconds into my 2NC, I finished my overview, and he stopped his timer. “Dude,” he said. “No.”

In my few interactions with him in high school, I never knew exactly what to make of Duck. I learned a lot every time I talked to him. That was for sure. I decided that I really wanted to impress him. That was easier decided than done, and I consistently said the stupidest stuff when he was around.

Two weeks after the TOC my senior year, about two months after I decided I was going to debate at Wake Forest and not Northwestern, I got an email from him. It was two paragraphs long. The first paragraph congratulated me on my (honestly rather meager) successes in high school, along with his (honestly rather generous) commentary on their difficulty. The second paragraph wished me all the best in debate and other pursuits as a Demon Deacon.

That email is easily on the short list for the single nicest, least expected note I’ve ever received.

2. Fall 2005, Lexington: The first round of our second college tournament was the first time that Duck judged Alex and me. We were up against it, on the negative against a strong team from Harvard. To begin his decision, Duck stood up, wandered to the cart we had for our tubs, rocked back and forth on it, while looking at us and declaring, “Back to the drawing board, Wake Forest!” Twenty minutes of helpful but scathing commentary followed. He advised us to wake up on Monday and watched some good teams in the elims.

Two days later, Monday morning, we were in the elims by the skin of our teeth and up against the same team from Harvard. We lost all three judges and made it look easy. Duck opened his decision by tapping his flows, looking at us, and saying, “Better!” Twenty minutes of helpful but scathing commentary followed.

On our way out, one of us noted that we would spend the rest of the day watching good teams. Duck laughed… and made clear that it would be a good idea.

3. Summer 2009, Evanston: I was working at the Northwestern camp when Ross died. It was—as we all know after living through this year—so very difficult. Duck was of course no longer running the camp (and everyone who was running it also took incredible care of me), but he was worried about me. He talked to me—a lot. He listened even more. He offered to come in and teach my lab for as long as I didn’t feel up to it. He made sure I was able to return to Winston-Salem for the services, which he also attended. He did everything he could and tried to do more.

Duck had known Ross far longer than I had, and from the tremendously empathetic things he said I knew how tough the tragedy was on him. Not for an instant, though, did his concern seem to be for himself. I’ll be forever thankful for the care Duck took of me last summer, and I’ll never forget the very long but all too short hug and the many but far too few tears we exchanged when we saw one another in Winston-Salem.

Scott Deatherage, even in our limited interactions over only a few years, was a great, great man. I will miss him.

Many of my dearest friends in debate come from Northwestern, for which I thank Duck. Please, if you are a friend and mentor to them as Duck made himself to me, even if they are no more officially your students than I was his, please be as good to them now as he was to me last summer.

Merry Christmas. I miss you all, and I’m so sorry.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 26, 2009, 09:53:41 AM
From Jason Rickard (NU '10)

I'm going to try and share some stories one post at a time. everytime duck and i drove somewhere he would change the radio station every 30 seconds or so creating a mix tape effect to all of our trips. there were very few exceptions to this habbit but one incident in particular sticks out. i was driving him to his apartment and ring of fire by johnny cash came on and he started singing quietly. another habit of his. i began to hum or whistle along. without me saying a word the Duck interjected, "of course you love johnny cash, you are from kansas." the duck was right and he let that song finish.

more later,

"you all ARE my children" - SD
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: Cody on December 26, 2009, 11:13:34 AM
One of my favorite "Duckism's" was watching him prepare for the end of camp lecture.  He was extraordinarily intense but that wasn't what was amusing....  The whole time he was psyching himself out prior to the lecture he was listening to Whitesnake, yes Whitesnake.  He had the music on so loud that we could all hear Whitesnake while simultaneously observing Duck.  I loved this ritual and I was lucky enough to watch it 8 or so times.  Another memory I have of the Duck occurred at the 1998 Salt Lake NDT.  They were announcing speaker awards and once they had announced 2ND speaker he instantly knew Micheal Gottleib had won top speaker.  Duck started jumping up and down hysterically ( I already understood why he earned the nickname but this particular example was without comparison).  I was standing next to the Duck so I got bounced on a few times.  It was awesome seeing Duck so happy, but that wasn't what struck me....  He was filled with PRIDE and excitement for Michael.  No one can say that the Duck didn't love to win, but those who knew him always knew that he loved his students even more. 

More Stories to come...

Cody Morrow
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: jonahfeldman on December 26, 2009, 12:00:00 PM
When I was coaching at Texas the Duck judged our debaters in an NDT prelim panel on the courts topic.  He voted for us in somewhat of an upset and gave Chris Thiele a 29.5.  He then sought me out after the debate to say how good Thiele had been and how he had considered for a long time giving him a thirty for a bunch of reasons that he then listed.  Later in the day he found me again to say that he for sure should have given Thiele a thirty and really regretted that he hadn't.  After the tournament he sent a lengthy e-mail to Joel and me going through what it means to earn 30 speaker points in a debate and why Thiele had done that.  It will always stick with me how much he cared about debaters, about the activity, and about even seemingly minor details like what it means to earn thirty speaker points.  I'll miss his wisdom, eccentricity, and passion about debate tremendously.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: stables on December 26, 2009, 01:07:37 PM
Duck Dinner in Chicago Re-Post (Just in case)

 Today at 1:25pm
This was e-mailed to everyone we could think of, and posted to the Facebook group, but I am re-posting it in case we have missed anyone. If someone with posting privileges on the CEDA forum wants to place it there as well, that would be great.



Hello Everyone,

This is LaTonya Starks. Dan Shalmon and I are putting together a dinner for this evening for all of the people who are, or will potentially be, in Chicago tonight. This is an informal gathering amongst friends. We are hoping to get a group of people together who knew and loved Duck and would like to share each other's company during this difficult time. I know there are some folks who would appreciate not being alone right now. We want anyone who feels like they are grieving and can stand to be in the company of others to attend if possible. There are some people in Chicago from out of town who will be present and could use the moral support.

We have deliberately casted a wide net to attract as many of you as possible. Please feel free to pass along this email and my contact information to anyone you think might want to attend this evening.

The restaurant will be in downtown Chicago, and will be a Duck favorite. We plan on eating around 7:30pm, though this time is somewhat flexible. More details will be forthcoming. Please email me at or call my cell at 312.316.6102 if you would like to attend.

Thanks for your time and hope to see you this evening,
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 26, 2009, 01:46:01 PM
Dinner update II- From Dan Shalmon

For those of you doing long-distance trip planning already, we have narrowed it down to two spots that Duck loved:

Gino's East:
633 N. Wells St. (Ontario and Wells)
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 943-1124
Fax: (312) 943-9589

Yoshi's Cafe
3257 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60657-3419
(773) 248-6160

We'll try to set the location by early this afternoon so people can plan and move easily. Our ability to do so is constrained by the operating hours of the restaurants, so please be patient.

Hope to see everyone there.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 26, 2009, 02:12:11 PM
From Robert Wood:

For the message board:

I never knew the Duck well, because he graduated the year before my freshman year at Baylor.  However, I vividly recall Erik Walker's descriptions of Scott's practice speeches.  According to Erik, Scott would be giving a 2AC and would be into minute seven responding to one disad, even though he had two other disads and case arguments to cover.  Erik would stop him and yell and/or throw his pen.  "Everything he said was great," Erik said, "but . . ."

Grant him eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Merry Christmas, all.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 26, 2009, 02:36:27 PM
From Sean McCaffity (NU '96)

Peace be with you, Duck. I love and miss you more than you'd ever imagine. You were always there for me and will always be in my heart and mind. Thank you so very very much for being one of the most influential forces in my life.

Love you Duck
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 26, 2009, 03:01:27 PM
Dinner Plans 3 from LaTonya Starks

Hi All,

Thanks so much to everyone for your emails and I'm so happy that some of you all will be able to attend this evening. 

We are all set for this evening(12-26) at 7:30pm at:
Yoshi's Cafe
3257 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60657-3419
(773) 248-6160 -- Yoshi's Cafe's number

I plan on arriving about 5-10 minutes early to be sure that our tables are all set-up for us.  It's not too late to RSVP but please do so soon -- it's a pretty small place and we are trying to give them our final numbers as soon as possible.

I look forward to seeing those of you who can attend tonight so we can get together and celebrate Scott Deatherage, a man we all knew and loved.

Please feel free to email me at latonyastarks at or call my cell at 312.316.6102 if you have any questions.

See you soon and travel safely,
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 26, 2009, 05:46:24 PM
From Kevin Sargent:

Scott personified all that was best about intercollegiate debate. But I actrually owe Scott more than I can express for giving me the chance to step away from the activity. I was able to enter Northwestern's PhD program in large part because of the opportunity to be a terribly underqualified member of Duck's coaching staff. But when I wanted the chance to step away from debate and focus on academics for the first time in a decade, not only did Scott fail to object, he was entirely supportive. And even though I was a member of Duck's coaching staff for only two brief semesters he has made me feel like a member of the Northwestern Debate family ever since. I know I will never forget him. Thanks Duck.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 26, 2009, 06:02:16 PM
From James Hamraie

rest in peace sir, legend, and teacher
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lynoleum on December 26, 2009, 06:30:40 PM
Those of us who knew Scott before he was Coach of The Century, before he was The Duck, also mourn his loss.  We Baylor folks are so grateful that he found such a cloud of friends and admirers in these last 20 years in the North, and I have taken great comfort from reading so many of your comments here.  Scott personified for all of us kindness, dedication, generosity, and belief in the power and indescribable value of debate. 

Lyn Robbins
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 01:16:26 AM
From: Mark David McPherson

I am a different -- hopefully, better -- person because of Duck. Judging from the number of members of this group, there are at least 402 other people who can say that (and counting). That's a good life, Duck. But I wish you had more years to add to those numbers.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 01:17:32 AM
From Bruce Najor
Very Sad. I'll never forget when I was looking at a round 5 + 6 pairing at the Texas tournament, and seeing Deatherage and Perkins as the ajudicators. Having never debated in front of these men before I was so nervous. But Scott's comments after the round were so thoughtful and helpful, I was actually angry at myself for getting so worked up over something I should have been thrilled to do. Anyone who can have the type of influence he did on people they knew so little about is truly a very special kind of person. Prayers for his family and friends.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: Jolie on December 27, 2009, 07:29:24 AM
I'd been away from my computer and just found out from Jairus last night. I'm deeply anguished by this, and I will miss my friend so much.  Scott and I taught at our first debate camp together.   Sherry and I debated Scott likely 25 times... as he liked to say, "Joey, those days of cutting our teeth on the I-35 circuit, yes, it was 13-12 or 12-13, or something mighty close, with that odd round most likely going my way, but oh yes, there was that Neil Phillips round..."   I'll likely never hear anyone call me Joey again... please trade a few "war stories" with your friends today... Scott and I would still argue about the issues in rounds that happened over 25 years ago.  It is what we did, and what we do, and it was one of the things we loved about debate. For us, debate gave two odd kids a way of expressing ourselves and forging lasting friendships.

I will sorely miss huddling loquac(K)ious with you, my dear dear friend...


Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 27, 2009, 08:25:39 AM
From Tim Anderson

For the Message Board

I have not seen or heard a debate in over 20 years, but I do know Scott Deatherage.   I went to high school with Scott and first met him early in my Freshman year of High School.  Scott was a Junior and recruiting for the Friendswood High School debate team as the club President.    His sales pitch was “I hear you are sort of smart…you should give it a try.”    I suspect he may have refined his approach a bit over the years, but he was right about the “sort of “ part.

In high school he was not “Duck” but “Exec” short for “Executive.”   He is still the only high school kid that I can remember that carried a brief case around campus.  In high school Scott loved to be organized and prepared.  For example, one of the debate teams duties at our high school, was to read the morning announcements over the campus PA system.  Most of us just winged the announcements the best we could, but Scott would take the announcements folder home the night before and practice (for hours according to legend).

Several years later, Scott and I met again at Baylor.  I had no plans to debate in college, but Scott managed to convince me to show up at the first team meeting and give it a try “just for the fun of it.”    My sophomore year Scott was one of my 3 roommates.   On several occasions we managed to get Scott to play Football, Basketball, and even racquetball once.   That was always fun and most of the time pretty funny.     

There were many, many good times and good friends during the years at Baylor.  Scott will be missed and fondly remembered.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 27, 2009, 09:19:18 AM
From Aimi Hamraie:

 in my old room, at my parents' house, i found a bunch of quotes from the duck's speech that i had put on the wall for motivation when i was a rising sophomore. they had been there for nearly a decade. when i graduated, james moved into my old room. he used to read the quotes every day. years later, the duck was his lab... leader, too. neither of us would have ever been who we were without him.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 27, 2009, 09:22:39 AM
From Ede Warner:

I, as the Director of the University of Louisville Malcolm X Debate Society, spent many of the last ten years searching for our differences. Scott, as the Director of Northwestern University, spent most of that time balancing those differences with our similarities. While I still believe both are important, upon reflection, Scott's view of the world was more productive because he brought the ability for us to better understand and appreciate each other in spite of my efforts which often created divisiveness.

Our professional relationship was defined early when he beat me several times during my sophomore season at Augustana College. Scott "won" early and often in our competitive relationship and that never changed as our roles in the activity evolved.

But I always respected how "he" won, how "he" engaged me personally even when we disagreed on issues, and was very intriqued how my "different" debaters built a relationship with his "words" in the 2004 debate documentary, although never with him directly. "Don't ask, argue" got more run in our squad room for a couple of years than "By any means necessary."

Scott and I didn't have an extremely social relationship, but we had mutual respect and admiration for one another at many levels. I liked the way he engaged me, the way he listened to me, and the way he didn't allow my "venting" to hinder his appreciation for what I was trying to do.

Someone earlier suggested they looked forward to what Scott would teach the UDL, but I looked forward to both what he would learn, as well as what he would teach. He was always eager to share those thoughts with me as our paths crossed over the years and our challenge of differenced impacted his thinking, his strategy, and his actions. He had a term I learned recently, "revolutionary patience" as I searched to better understand who I was and what meaning that had for how we both learn and teach.

And btw, he was one of the best I've ever met at "learning," that's one of the things I respected most about him, and likely an important attribute in the creation of the most competitively successful NDT/CEDA debate coach of our time. In search of our differences, I have not always given Scott the credit he deserves for his competitive success, and sadly, I will never have the chance to tell him that personally.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 11:32:37 AM
From Perry Green:

11 months ago I was with the Duck and some of you in DC at the NAUDL
reception during the inauguration. It seems like yesterday. I had the
distinct pleasure and privilege of starting my debate career in the Chicago
Debate League, and Duck's fingerprints are all over the CDL. At the end of
the CDL's annual summer institute before the camp tournament the Duck always
gave his lecture on winning, the only summer I got tired of it was when I
was at the Coon-Hardy and the CDL institute, and heard it twice. Or I'll
never forget Ede and the Duck dialoguing with a bunch of amazing kids from
all over the Midwest at the Midwest Urban Debate League Championship, it was
like watching a presidential debate. However even after all those NDT
Championships, it was the Duck's leadership at the National Association of
Urban Debate Leagues that has had the most profound impact on me, because
there was no better cheerleader for debate than the Duck, and over the past
two years I saw him in a variety of settings sharing the joy, cheer,
competitive spirit and passion for debate and expanding access to debate to
students across the country.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 11:35:17 AM
From Clinton McClure:

I enjoyed the stirring lectures that he gives at the end of Coon-Hardy. He taught me that, "It's all about the link."
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 27, 2009, 12:06:40 PM
From Tripp Rebrovik:

“All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story.” – Hannah Arendt, quoting Isak Dinesen.

I’ve tried for a few days now to put into words the meaning of Duck’s life for me. I can’t say that I’ve succeeded in any sense of that word, but this is the best I can do.

“...must force choice and provide an on balance reason to reject the plan…”

My first encounter with Duck was in the summer of 2002, when he, dressed to the nines with those massive headphones on, marched into a room of young, scared high school sophomores in order to teach what liked to call “Net Benefits 101.” The sheer power of his intellect – and his physical presence – was on display, not to be questioned, but to be absorbed, experienced. That first impression has never left me. Years later, when I myself taught the sophomore lab at Northwestern, I’d try to get Duck to come back and give the lecture for Net Benefits 101. Sometimes he could make it; others I had to take his place. What Duck could accomplish, and teach, within an hour or so, would take me several; I lack the expressive power that seemed to constitute his essence, that he embodied seemingly effortlessly – though I would come to know quite well that nothing Duck ever did was without effort. The amount of effort he put into everything was evident, most clearly perhaps, at the end of the day, at the bar, where you could palpably sense the turmoil his body went through, but it could not stand in the way of his acute sense of observation, his masterful ability to put into a succinct phrase what you had been thinking all along, but could not draw together into appropriate words. Duck could never cover, we all know that. But at times he didn’t have to; with just a few words, he could accomplish what none of the rest of us ever could, even with entire pages at our disposal.

“A prominent member of this staff is a gay man.”

I returned to Northwestern before my junior year of high school. Sometime during the camp, someone, who is now a friend, but at the time not so much, pasted a sign onto my door that simply said “FAG!” Some chaos ensued (at least from my perspective), but the next day, the lab was gathered and the Duck began to lecture us about this incident. If I had to date my consciousness of what it means to be gay man, of being aware of an exclusion from ‘regular’ social bonds, it would be at this moment. Duck’s words, his speech, opened my eyes, revealing to me the world that I now experience and know intimately. It was later that summer that I came out to my parents. Years passed, and when I got to know Duck as a colleague and friend, not as a student, our bond would grow strong because of our shared experience, and much of it through remembrance of this very moment in the summer of 2003. Sharing a Makers on the rocks, we would reminisce about our experiences; share our stories; I even brought a boy or two to meet Duck, knowing that his approval or disapproval would be pivotal. I think he knew that too – he knew, tangibly, what it meant for me to have a gay mentor in my life. Many, many times – at tournaments, at the camp – he would seek me out, and we would talk about boys. Often during the summer, the rest of the members of the staff would be talking about actresses, female models, etc, but we would be sitting there, leaning close, just a little bit off to the side, snickering at the others, trading our own opinions of actors – even other debaters. When I debated, or when he judged, one of these unknowing objects of our gossip, we would share a secret smile, a mischievous nod or wink, and my day would be better simply because of that experience. It was during these moments, over the far-too-few years that we could share them, that I first became comfortable with myself, that I was finally able to embrace who I am. I was never able to thank Duck in life for what he did for me – that he was willing to share simple, everyday stories and experiences with me revolutionized my world. I shudder to think of what my life would be like if it weren’t for these cherished and memorable moments.

“I think you could be a great young teacher.”

Those words started it all for me. I had just finished my first year of college and was looking for a job – preferably at a debate camp. I sent Duck an email, asking if he would hire me. Duck responded, in less than 24 hours (something that would never happen again), and with those kind words he swung wide open a door, one already unlocked and cracked open by my first debate coach, and I have never looked back. I’ll be back at the camp for my fifth summer, and even today I coach debate for a job. As many have already said, Duck loved to say that “debate saved him.” Debate saved me too; Duck saved me. Nothing brings me as much joy, happiness, and content as being able to share debate with the young minds that I come across at my summers in Evanston. Again, I shudder to think what my life would be like had Duck not enabled me to join his Northwestern debate family. Not just the students, but the friends I have made during those summers – some of the closest I have – would not be in my life if it weren’t for Duck.

“You can be a real fuckin' bitch sometimes, you know!”

Duck judged me relatively often over the years. I naively believed that because of our friendship, he would vote for me no matter what. Oh was I wrong! And oh did I let him know it! He never let it faze him, though. He would stand there, towering above me, arms flailing, rubbing his head and face, and he would let me have it – critiquing, praising, yelling, teaching, enlightening. “You should have said it this way.” “Dude!! They did make that argument.” “Look…why don’t you do it this way from now on.” I would argue back, but rarely prevail. Eventually, I’d be reduced to “Yeah, OK, you’re right, BUT…” And then I’d make a joke, we’d laugh, move on, and order another drink. All was well. The debates mattered, but our friendship mattered more. I only wish I had learned that lesson earlier.

“It’s all about the link…Anticipate and know…Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable.”

Of all the points in The Speech, these three have outshone all the others, and shaped most fundamentally my views of debate. Anything that I do related to debate – speak, coach, research, judge, whatever – I feel these words coursing through my veins, electrifying my consciousness, oozing through my breath. I can’t say that they guaranteed me victory, because they didn’t, but his phrases made debate meaningful for me. The concepts he created made the effort worthwhile. And what else can we ask of a person? To translate the "melancholy haphazardness," the "startling unexpectedness" of the world into words and concepts that make experience understandable is a rare gift - one that should be cherished. Duck possessed it. The world aches for someone to fill his void.

One of the last times I was able to see Duck, and talk with him, was at Ross’ funeral. Despite days of trying, I can’t remember much of what we said, only that we shared our grief and our hopes. I can still see him, though, standing there, bent over, drink in his hand, swaying back and forth. I don’t remember the words we shared, but I do remember the silence. We looked at each other, shared a deep, resounding sigh, and embraced with a hug. And somehow, that was enough.

The last moment we shared was, fittingly, at a bar. The last night, or very near to the last night, of the camp. When I left, he gave me another hug. When I said goodbye to him, I didn’t know it would be the last. But I’m glad we departed with a hug. I wish there could be many more.

Duck opened worlds for everyone he met. I know few of his acquaintances whose lives he did not change radically for the better. The world needs more Ducks.

I miss you Duck, friend, confidant, colleague…teacher.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 02:02:58 PM
Micheal Rolston's thoughts on the Duck can be found here

"Farewell to Scott Deatherage, domineering college debate coach, urban debate advocate
The happy hallmarks of the holidays have been offset by the sad news that Scott Deatherage is with us no more. Dr. Deatherage, known wide and far to many as ‘The Duck’, coached Northwestern University’s debate program as long as I was involved in the high school and college debate communities, and later moved on to direct the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues. I am so sad for his family, and especially, for debaters past, present, and future who will no longer have the opportunity to learn from, win big with, and reminisce alongside this sentinel of academic debate.

I was never a Wildcat, and never aspired to be one – NU in Evanston was too damn close to my native Rogers Park in Chicago to really be considered an option for college. But the well-managed program that Scott oversaw out of the Hardy House on NU’s campus was the glue of my high school and college debate experience. Green as I was, he helped shepherd my way into Northwestern’s high school debate camp where I decided at last that I was going to be a college policy debater on the NDT/CEDA-circuits. And once I was in college, no tournament ever felt more important to me personally than the yearly trip home for the late winter/early spring NU tournament, where twice I stayed up late into a Sunday night and watched my teammates lose close ones in the final round.

The Duck was the man who sat astride those happenings in my life, steadily making them happen without a hitch. He also gave me one of the best compliments I ever received in my life.

At the 2001 National Debate Tournament, my University of Iowa teammates Andy Peterson and Andy Ryan were confronted in the semi-finals with a clever Michigan State team who we really didn’t have a good strategy against. At the last moment, I suggested to Andy and Andy that they use a really bizarre and not-very-good argument I had written. Our team was too nervous to watch the debate so we went out to lunch, and when we came back, we learned that the debate had come down to that really ludicrous argument with which I had supplied the boys because MSU had mishandled it. This made us nervous, to say the least.

Stepping out into the hallway to ease some of the tension, I came upon The Duck, who was rooting for Andy and Andy, and just as anxious as we all were.

First, he looked me directly in the eye, which never happened.

Next, he said, “You scare the shit out of me.”

Then, he waddled off, just as quickly as he came upon me.

I still smile whenever I think about it.

(Andy and Andy won 4-1, and a number of hours later, sealed the deal to bring the NDT trophy home to Iowa City.)

But beyond all that, I can’t forget that Scott didn’t just run what is possibly the winningest college debate program in American history. He also lent such amazing support to the urban debate league in Chicago, in its pilot phase when I worked there, and in the years since I’ve focused on other pursuits. These good deeds were as much a measure of his character as the champions he nurtured at NU.

All I can say is, thank you Duck, and farewell."
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 05:54:56 PM
From Greg Hartney:

 My connection with Scott was always peripheral...he debated with one of my alums at Baylor, and he taught several of my students at summer workshops at Baylor and then later at Northwestern. To a person they talk of his intellect, his passion for teaching, and his love of the debate activity.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: John Bredehoft on December 27, 2009, 07:02:17 PM
I first met Scott many years ago, when he was a high school student in my lab at Georgetown.  We had drifted in and out of touch over the years, but had been chatting more frequently over the last month or so.  I am saddened and lessened by his passing, and will miss him.  The thoughts and prayers of our family go out to his.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 11:39:07 PM
From Andrea Alterman:

After 25 years away from the debate world a lot of memories of people have faded but the people who make an impact stay in your memory banks forever. While I didn't know Scott well, I remember him as one of the "good guys." A fearsome competitor but with a heart of gold. There aren't many of those types in the world. His time on it was way too short.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 11:40:37 PM
From Julie Garcia:

Echoing so many sentiments here and in other postings - my college and debate experiences were so intertwined with Duck that I can't even remember the Before Duck era. Cori, I will look for those Wall o Coke photos. I don't know if they are in my mind or my scrapbook but I remember that too!
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 27, 2009, 11:41:35 PM
From Valeria Fabj:

Scott and I were in grad school together. I will always remember his smile, his warm hugs and his heart of gold.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 28, 2009, 11:12:28 AM
From Ryan Park :

Scott was my lab leader at Northwestern's camp in 1996. And honestly, he intimidated me! He had such high expectations for what I could accomplish, when I was just a high school senior. But there was another side to that coin: he believed in me, and that was humbling given his stature.

I didn't debate in college, and I didn't stay in touch with Scott after that year was over. But I will always remember the way he pushed me -- no, the way he inspired me to push *myself* to the limits of what I could achieve.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 11:42:59 AM
From Sherry:

Another day has come and gone, yet I am no closer to being able to compose my thoughts about the loss of my good friend.  I have busied myself with organizing what everyone else has written, and I have read the tributes and memories – some make me laugh, some make me cry – that other friends have shared.  I think the reason I am having so much trouble with this is that I can’t really accept that it is true.  Scott was the first friend I made in college debate outside of my squad – we met at my first debate tournament at Oklahoma Christian College in Edmund, Oklahoma.  He was one year ahead of me. I don’t have much memory of the events surrounding our initial meeting; I only know that I considered him a friend when the tournament was over.  I have no experience with the world of college debate without Scott in it.
I remember the first time I met the “Duck.”  Our squads were close both because of the geographical proximity between Waco and Denton and because his coach, Bill English had been my coach, John Gossett’s coach.  It was decided that the two squads would caravan together for the 27plus hour drive to California for the Coast tournaments.  The Baylor folk were crowded and we had extra room.  They met up with us in Denton, which meant that they had left Waco about 5:00 am.  I went running up to the van looking for Scott with some new story to share with him, but I couldn’t find him.  I asked where he was and someone said “in the van.”  I looked in the van and didn’t see him, so I asked again.  “Look down,” I was told.  I scanned the bottom of the van and between two of the rows of seats saw these enormous feet sticking up.  As I got closer I saw my friend, laid out on the floor, with a flow paper sign taped to him that read “Duck Sleeping, Do Not Disturb.”  The paper flapped with his breathing and somewhat resembled a duck bill.  I don’t know if that’s the first time the Baylor people called him “the Duck,” but it was the first time I saw it and started calling him that.
I was never one to remember the specifics of all the debates we had – though we did debate each other a lot.  Joel has said we debated at least 25 times.  Joel and the Duck could probably tell you what our record was and still argue over this decision or that 25 years later.  I just remember that we were competitors that had great respect for each other.  Our rivalry pushed each of us to be better.  I learned a lot from him, and I like to think he learned from me as well. 
I must have talked about him a lot because my mother was convinced that he was my boyfriend and kept asking when I was going to bring him by to meet her.  It was hard to categorize the nature of our friendship, so trying to explain it was difficult.  I felt that Scott was like an older brother who looked out for me.  It was not until we had known each other for 3 or 4 years that Scott came to terms with his identity in a way that he felt comfortable expressing it to others.  I had never had a friend who was gay, or at least one that had figured it out and was willing to talk about it.  I was glad to be one of the people that he shared this time of his life with.
When we became coaches, we continued to be competitors – somehow never coached for the same school, never even taught a lab together despite the fact that we taught at so many summer camps together.  Whenever one of his teams would suffer a tough loss at the NDT, I would seek him out and he would cry like a baby in my arms.  When Michael and Elliott lost the doubles at the NDT, a loss that was a competitive advantage for him, he sought me out to return the hug and hold me as I cried.  I couldn’t help but take some joy in watching his celebratory “duck jump” – where he would jump up and down about a foot off the floor pumping his fists – even when it was the expense at one of my teams. 
I certainly learned a lot more about being a coach from him than he learned from me.  The energy, organization, and level of preparation and focus that he brought to this venture was humbling and unprecedented.   One year when we had a particularly bad start at the first tournament my debaters, who had heard about “the speech” that the Duck gave his debaters, asked if I could give them “the speech.”  I talked to Scott later that night and asked for advice on what to do to get everyone’s spirits back up, and he graciously responded. 
Reading the posts that other debaters have written, particularly people who did not debate for Northwestern, but only knew Scott through summer camps, really gives one a sense of the impact that he had on so many. The number of people who have written that they went back and referred to their notes from a lecture he gave 5, 10 or 15 years ago; Aimi who said that she still has quotes from his lecture taped to her wall and that her brother took some of them from her room and moved them to his room to inspire him when he debated, really demonstrates what a special person he was, what tremendous insight he had into what it took to prepare oneself for success.  I think he knew that learning to prepare oneself for success in debate was great training for preparing oneself to succeed in life.
It is hard to say goodbye.  I lived more of my life with Scott a part of it than without him.  We rang in many New Years, shared way too many good meals together to count, went on trips together.  He was an investor in my restaurant.  When I presented him with my business plan, he glanced at it and said he would have to figure out how much he could afford, but he definitely wanted to support me.  Though, when he came to visit and saw that I had Pepsi products instead of Coke, I thought he might take it back. It is hard to say goodbye, but I will try.  Goodbye my friend.  May you rest in peace.  I love you and miss you.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 28, 2009, 02:17:19 PM
From Walter R Willis :

I had the pleasure of debating against Scott in high school. It must have been one of his first debates. In the 1NR, he stands up to speak, and begins to move toward the front of the room, (we did that back then,) with a stack of cards balanced on his flowpad, (we used actual cards back then, too,) and hsestumbled, toppling his cards and sending them scattering across the floor. I think we suspended prep so he could pick them up. My team won that debate. The other time we debated my team lost in finals at a local Houston tournament.

Success, for Scott, was earned. Back then, in high school, and then at Baylor, he worked harder than anyone else I ever knew. Perhaps at anything.

RIP old comrade.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: DoyleSrader on December 28, 2009, 04:17:46 PM
Just a followup on Sherry's story. I got curious as to why everyone called Scott "Duck." I never did, and he never seemed to mind "Scott." But I asked him, and this, after at least a decade and a half, is my memory of the story he told.

They were at the NDT. They'd written a new disad, Saudi-Soviet, that applied only to Harvard's affirmative. Scott and partner (Larry Vincent? Mark Dyer?) were getting their act together to debate Harvard, when Scott realized they were missing their copy of Saudi-Soviet.

At the time, pairings at the NDT were only read aloud, no hard copy, so Scott ran to the room where Robin Rowland was judging, and asked what room the other Baylor team was in. Rowland told him, and Scott took off running again to get the file he needed. He said that Rowland said, loudly, "He runs like a duck!" And that, by Scott's account, is where the nickname came from.

Others who've heard him explain it might be able to fill in or correct details, or maybe they heard a different version altogether. But that's what I remember.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: GregAbbott on December 28, 2009, 05:04:41 PM
I went to the NDT this year for the first time in 16 years, and I'm glad I did because I got to talk to Scott for a bit in the hotel bar.  He was a great guy, and I'm just shocked that he's gone.  

Reading this thread, there are two things that stand out to me:

(1) The focus in the thread is Scott's personal relationships.  It's quite a touching tribute to Scott that his positive influence on the lives of others is the first thing people remember about him, and not how many NDT winners he coached.  

(2) For all its flaws, college debate is an amazing activity.  What else provides such challenges, intensity, and emotional connection?  The stories about Scott really reminded me (again, after all these years) how incredible debate can be.  

Greg Abbott  
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 06:54:19 PM
From Ken Ogden:

I had the privilege of knowing Scott for over 25 years. I debated him over 20 times in high school and college. Then having my students taught by him for 20 years at summer programs. It was an honor to spend over a year working with him during my time with the Houston Urban Debate League. He was a true gentleman and... friend in every encounter. My prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues. Love you Scott!

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lynoleum on December 28, 2009, 07:06:40 PM
From Lyn Robbins:

I can't improve on Sherry's or Doyle's versions of the origination of the name "The Duck," but I can with some certainty explain when it became solidified as the universal nickname for Scott.  Between the two west coast tournaments Scott's senior year, the squad went to Disneyland.  Somebody bought a Donald Duck cap - complete with Donald's yellow bill as the bill of the cap - and gave it to Scott.  The perfect picture was taken of Scott sitting awkwardly with the cap on  his head.  It was taken back to our squad room and posted on the bulletin board beneath a heading that said something like "Behold the Duck."  From then on, Scott was The Duck.

Mark Dyer still has the picture.  He is going to digitize it and get it to me, and I will post it on the Facebook page.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: Chuck_Ballingall on December 28, 2009, 07:45:36 PM
My first memories of Scott go back to the summer of 1987. He and Lyn Robbins came out from Baylor to teach at the Redlands summer institute. I had never met Scott; Lyn was our connection, and as it turned out, fantasy baseball was the tie that bound the three of us. Since I was "the local," with a car, in our after late night hours we could generally be found at Denny's, pouring over the day's baseball scores, and adding our daily statistics - by hand - to track the progress of our teams. Many a late night baseball discussion ensued, and a friendship was born between Scott and I that would last more than 20 years.

A few years later, he asked me to come to Northwestern and be on the institute staff. I tried to pick up as much as I could from osmosis; in my six summers there, I taught with, among others, Jody Terry, Sean McCaffity, and Michael Gottlieb. Even though some of Duck's tenets of debate were a bit watered down for our younger, inexperienced debaters, I still learned a great deal from sitting with these three outstanding debaters and listening to their "secondhand coaching." I also got to see Duck's opening topicality lecture every year (twice; those who attended will know what I mean by this). Just the experience of being around Northwestern debate was pretty heady in those days. My lab room was often the Hardy House conference room, and I spent a number of summers with an NDT Championship trophy perched on a pedestal just behind me!

My final thought about Duck has to do with what I will call, for want of a better term, "The George Bailey Effect." I'm referring to the character in Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life," who, with the help of an angel, is shown the positive effect his presence had in the lives of so many, both directly and indirectly. I wonder if Scott ever thought about the effect that his efforts and talents had on the lives of so many. Because of the work he did at Northwestern, he not only helped to make me a better coach, but he introduced me to many new friends, some of whom I would've never become friends with had it not been for Scott bringing us all together for those institutes. Those Northwestern summers also allowed me to deepen my friendships with many colleagues on the high school debate circuit, who were usually competitors during the year. It was only in the summer that we really had time to relax, have a drink (often with Scott present, at My Bar, or The Huddle, or Davis Street), and become better friends. And that all happened because of Scott's presence in our lives.

Thanks so much Scott, for everything.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 09:00:55 PM
From Alex Lennon:

Scott touched so many people in so many positive ways. As a college student, he helped build my confidence and me as a person (complimenting me to other peers saying "you'll never beat Lennon on prolif" only to find out I was in the room and chastising himself "Now, I've done it. As if your head wasn't big enough...") ...and voting for me as part of a 3-2 decision in the NDT finals. After college, he helped recommend not just his own students but others for the CSIS Taylor internship. Still more in his role with NAUDL. Never stopping to give more of himself to benefit others.

I've known him for 20 years and was lucky enough to see him just 2 weeks ago at the DC NAUDL event. His eyes looked a bit yellow, but as lively as ever. Made me promise to go to lunch with him next time he was in town. So happy to see so many of his old friends. I can't believe he is gone. I only hope he knows a fraction of how many he touched and how many will miss him. RIP Duck.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 09:18:12 PM
From Josh Branson:

The Duck and DSFM [Davis Street Fish Market]
I'm still in shock and denial about the duck, and I'm sure I can't do justice to his legacy like Sherry and others have done. But I did want to just share one fond (and for me, somewhat defining) memory of the Duck.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Duck is a table by the window of Evanston's Davis Street Fish Market. As many know, this was Duck's home away from home in Evanston; we always joked that he spent more time there than he did in his office.

The winter of my junior year, when Tristan and I were preparing for the National Debate Tournament, we met for lunch with Duck three times a week, every week, for the 10 weeks leading up that tournament. So for those of you counting, that's about 30 lunch meetings (it may have been more) over the span of one winter. We ate at the Fish Market for every single one of those meetings, so often that Tristan and I often joked afterward that just the mention of the place made us nauseous. But Duck didn't seem to mind; he refused to eat anywhere else. At these lunch meetings, the following invariably happened almost every time:

--Duck emphatically reminded us that he thought up the key strategy that won Sean and Jody the semis of one of their NDTs (I think in 1994) while sitting at the exact booth in which we were sitting, and that he scribbled down the basic outline of the argument on a napkin. We stopped even trying to interject and remind Duck that he'd already told the story 25 times; he'd find a way to bring it up anyway. He'd sometimes even grab a pen and furiously scribble jibberish on a napkin in front of him just for effect--prompting me to joke that Duck would be a great charades player, prompting him in turn to balefully stare at me and ask me how many times I'd cleared at the NDT (the answer was painfully zero).

--Duck would get into a fight with the manager and/or waiter. I always felt kind of sorry for the poor fool that had to come wait on the Duck; although he had a truly kind soul and generous spirit, waiters tended not to see that side of him too often. This usually started by Duck trying to order something that wasn't on the menu--after all, he would reason, he'd eaten at the Davis Street Fish Market approximately 800,000 times over the past 15 years, he should have some perks--the waiter telling him that "we don't make that anymore," followed by Duck usually saying with the dismissive wave of a hand "dude, yes you do, just go in the back and tell Charlie to make it," followed by the waiter disappearing and coming back a few minutes later confirming that, in fact, Charlie didn't make that dish anymore. Which would inevitably lead Duck to say something like "whatever dude, stop f#*$ing bothering us!!"

--Duck would put on display his full arsenal of odd mannerisms and eccentricities. There was lots of him furiously rubbing his bald head as he thought about an argument, lots of randomly-timed mimes of baseball swings (usually coinciding with two other things: 1. him finishing reading a Tristan-cut kritik card, and 2. him saying "HOME RUN!), lots of use of the word "dude,..." to preface the scathing critique of your logic that inevitably followed, lots of him extending his right arm all the way and flapping his fingers at you to signal that he wanted you to keep explaining, etc. I laugh when I think of what other people passing in the restaurant must have thought about 6 people sitting around a table while a bald, ducklike creature stood up making all these gestures while engaging in a heated argument about global warming and the like.

--Duck would thoroughly, rigorously, and brutally attack every argument that we'd thought up. He'd start the meetings by reminding us exactly how many days it was until the NDT (i.e. "the 1AC starts in 65 days") and then proceed to put whatever arguments were on our agenda for that day through the firing line composed of him and the assistant coaches. It is true that, by the time I got to NU, Duck had stopped doing actual research or argument writing himself. But he was still very much involved in tearing down the arguments we came up with, and he often said that if our arguments could withstand the Duck barrage (with generous use of expletives and usually at least one "that might have been popular with your little high-rep high school friends, but not in college" comment), then it was ready to win a national championship. He was usually right.

When I close my eyes and think about Duck in the Davis Street Fish Market, we're at a big table with Lundy, Fitz, Kevin, Dan, and Tristan. I know others were there at various times throughout too--LT, Scotty, Noah, Timmy B, Luke, and others were intimately familiar with the Fish Market as well. But for me, the defining image of my 4 years of college is a winter's afternoon in Evanston, snow falling outside, sitting across from the Duck at his table at the Fish Market, a glass of Duck Pond pinot grigio in his hand, as he lead us, at times gently and at times the opposite of that, towards his 7th national championship in a span of 12 years of coaching.

In no small sense, I felt that sitting at that table connected us to Sean and Jody, Mike and Sparky, JP and Jake, and all the other members of the Northwestern family throughout the years. I've been back a few times since then, but unfortunately Davis Street remodeled, getting rid of their cozy bar-area tables, management both turned over and revamped the menu, and the Duck moved on to other places. I was always pretty upset that they'd done so, because once Duck stopped frequenting the Fish Market, I felt that a part of Northwestern's debate legacy had died.

Now that Duck has moved on for good, I can only sit here and fondly think of him and his generations of pupils sitting across from him at his beloved restaurant, a sheepish and cowed waiter lurking in the background, as he shepherded nervous young students into the next phase of their lives, and in the process made debate history.

So long Duck. I promise I'll get the rock shrimp for you.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 10:10:35 PM
From David Coale:

1(a). Summer of 1984, Waco, Texas. Baylor Debate Workshop. Professor Rowland introduced the staff. For all but one, he used names ("Mark Dyer," "Lyn Robbins," etc.) That one staff member, however, he introduced as "The Forensic Waterfowl." "That's funny," I thought to myself, "did he just call that ...guy a duck?!"
1(b). Duck's lab, called "The Death Squad," wins the tournament and almost every other trophy available to win.

2. Duck, using irrefutable logic with the students at another Baylor Debate Workshop: "I know the basketball camp people make a lot of noise dribbling at night. But that does not mean you can hit them with pillows!"

3(a). 1989 NDT, double-octos, Miami of Ohio. Redlands 5, Harvard 0.
3(b). Roughly fifteen years later, dinner with Duck and Sherry Hall. "Hey," he says over salad, "remember that double-octo debate you lost so badly?"
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 10:11:30 PM
From Steven Deatherage:

As Scott's nephew, I'm truly thankful for everyone who is sharing their memories of Scott. I have learned SO much about a person who always remained mysterious to me. Our family, here in Houston, is in awe over the outpouring of love that he is receiving from all of his friends and loved ones accross the country.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 10:12:41 PM
From Todd Fine:

I would like to recall "the speech" that a number of people have mentioned... And I would be interested in learning more about its history and evolution.

Its lessons had great influence on me when I experienced it as a rising high school junior at the Zarefsky Scholars Institute at Northwestern in 1997. He delivered thi...s session-culminating address with such gravity and passion, communicating that seeking excellence in debate was a dead serious endeavor. I recall him looking at the debaters directly in the eyes, overcoming his usual shyness. I remember feeling personally challenged, committing myself to meet the high expectations he set. Looking around the room, I could feel an entire cohort of young debaters do the same.

Is there a full verbatim transcript or a video of "the speech" in existence that could be posted? Experiencing it seems to have become a rite of passage in debate, and I would hope it could be forever available to other young debaters.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 28, 2009, 10:14:18 PM
From the NAUDL:
A site has been set up for Scott at:

The NAUDL's Executive Director, life-long educator, and our friend and colleague Larry Scott Deatherage passed away the morning of December 25, 2009. He was 47 and died of cardiac arrest.

Throughout his life, Scott believed in the ability of debate to transform the lives of students. As a Northwestern University faculty member, Scott taught countless students the power of sharp thinking, persuasive communication, and argumentation. As Director of the Northwestern University Debate Society, Scott was one of the most successful coaches - if not the most successful coach - in college debate history. As the Executive Director of the NAUDL, Scott turned his extraordinary talent and focus to helping extend learning opportunities to students who might not otherwise have access to debate. Under his leadership, the NAUDL built institutions that will continue to provide life-trajectory changing intellectual challenges to thousands upon thousands of urban students across the country for years to come. His life, and his commitment to that work, came to a close all too prematurely.

Scott's family posted the following on the afternoon of December 25:

As most of you know by now, Scott passed away early this morning. In his last two days, he was surrounded by friends and loved ones. Scott's family is working to deal with the immediate practical challenges of this tragedy, and has not yet set a time or place for a funeral or memorial service. Plans for those events, however, are in the works for the near future, and we will make sure you are all informed as soon as they are finalized. Thank you all for your continued patience and support - it has meant the world to Scott's family.

The NAUDL will update information on this page regarding memorial services in Scott’s honor as it becomes available. You may also be interested in visiting discussions on the College Policy Debate Forums site and Facebook. At both sites, Scott’s friends and colleagues have shared memories and have paid tribute to him, and additional information about the memorial services will be posted there as well.

On the heels of this tragic loss, please join us in remembering with admiration Scott’s remarkable life and work.

The NAUDL Board and Staff
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 29, 2009, 12:42:25 AM
From Matt Reedy:

The first time I met the Duck was when I attended the Coon my Junior Year of high school. Listening to him speak during camp was one of the big motivations in my decision to apply to NU early decision-simply being around the Duck and a program that, for me at least, defined debate, was one I could not pass up. Among many, three stories stick out.
After the first day of Kentucky my freshman year, my partner Randall and I stood at a quality 0-4. We clearly weren't so psyched about how the day went and while moving our boxes from the room to our bus the Duck sought us out. I don't remember his exact words, but I knew, after him talking to us, the outcome didn't matter.
It was during the Roger's House of my sophomore year that I was going to quit the team, for a variety of reasons. It took a great while to prepare myself to deliver the news to the Duck, because I knew that I wouldn't able to stick with it faced with his persuasive skills. Just a kid from Kansas (something he reminded me of OFTEN-I guess there was some other Kansan that debated at NU...) I was never going to win much, nor could I prolifically cut cards (the best file I ever produced was two Project Prometheus cards), but in spite of that the Duck, armed with a gigantic pitcher of iced tea, reminded me that there was a place for me-that I belonged. It wasn't for long, but during that conversation the Duck made me feel like I was a part of the team. My greatest accomplishment during my time at NU was that I got to carry the boxes of two NDT champion teams. For me, because of the inspiration of the Duck, that was enough. Just being a part of the team, the history, the legacy the Duck created was all I could ask for.
While not related to debate (directly), I will never ever forget the time I spent at the Wise Fools. Those ridiculous nights spent drinking Markers Mark straight (if the Duck could do it, why couldn't I?) were, to the extent I can actually remember what happened, unforgettable. By far my favorite interaction was one of the most recent nights where several of us were sitting around debating the timeless issue of "what television character would you marry?" With Branson shamelessly defending Jenny Garth from 90210 (JENNY GARTH OUT OF EVERYONE EVER!) the Duck waddled over, and upon hearing what we were talking about loudly muttered something about how we were idiots and all our choices-obviously-sucked.
Just a few of the many things I'll remember about the Duck. He will be missed by not only those who directly knew him, but every collegiate debater past, present and future.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 29, 2009, 08:13:16 AM
From the Chicago Sun Times, December 29, 2009:,CST-NWS-xdeatherage29.article

Nation's top debate coach
Left NU to aid urban high school efforts

December 29, 2009

As L. Scott Deatherage lay ailing at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a heart attack, the electronic drumbeat began.

Across the globe, former students of the legendary debate coach at Northwestern University began texting, e-mailing and telephoning. They called his hospital room from Hong Kong, Harvard University, California, Colorado. Some drove in or flew in from Michigan, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

As the students he once coached and members of his family gathered at his bedside, they read him every text message. They held the phone to his ear so his debaters could thank him one last time.

"You were a father to me," some said. And: "You changed my life."

Mr. Deatherage, widely considered the nation's top debate coach, died on Christmas Day after suffering a heart attack two days earlier. He was 47.

"There are 150 urban public schools that have debate programs as a result of his work with the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues," said Eric Tucker, deputy director of the organization, which Mr. Deatherage joined last year as executive director after leaving Northwestern.

He began coaching debate at Northwestern University in 1986 and became director of its Debate Society in 1990. Seven times, his team won the National Debate Tournament, the Super Bowl of debate for college and university students. He also coached four debaters to individual "top speaker" awards and was voted "Coach of the Decade" for the 1990s by his peers.

"His record as a debate coach will be the standard by which future debate coaches will be measured," said Leonard Gail, who chairs the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, which is based in Chicago.

Mr. Deatherage's imposing frame was matched by his generosity of spirit, friends said. He didn't yell. He encouraged, getting students to believe in themselves.

LaTonya Starks was one. The former Morgan Park High School student, raised by her grandmother, caught his eye during a Chicago Debate League competition.

"There was an aura around him," Starks said. "There was talk before you got to an event that 'Scott Deatherage is going to be there.' People talked about how many national debate tournaments he had won and how, if he believed in you, it could change your life."

He found money to help her attend Northwestern, where she became an assistant debate director. "He was the first person in debate to tell me that I could be great," Starks said.

He'd give students what came to be known as "The Speech" -- a call to excellence that grew to have a near-mythic reputation.

"They remember it all of their lives," said Dan Shalmon, past associate director of Northwestern's debate team. "It was about how being great at debate could make you great at life. . . . The four pillars were teamwork, hard work, character and commitment."

Mr. Deatherage, a Texas native, lost his mother at 14 and his father at 16. Debate became his anchor. "He had this to hang onto," said his sister, Diana Baldwin.

He received bachelor's and master's degrees from Baylor University and a doctorate from Northwestern.

Mr. Deatherage -- known affectionately as "Duck" because he walked like one -- counseled other debate coaches on budgets and fund-raising and whatever else they needed to know.

"The coach at Michigan State told me there would not be a debate team at Michigan State if not for Scott," Shalmon said. "No one did more to support debate at Berkeley from outside than Scott."

Mr. Deatherage is also survived by four brothers: Donald, Michael and Patrick Deatherage and William Lechner.

A service is planned for Texas, as well as a larger tribute in the Chicago area at a future date.
L. SCOTT DEATHERAGE | 1962-2009:

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 29, 2009, 08:25:56 AM
From the Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2009:

Larry Scott Deatherage, 1962-2009: Noted debate coach, formerly of Northwestern University

By Alejandra Cancino

Tribune reporter

December 29, 2009

Larry Scott Deatherage was widely considered one of the top collegiate debate coaches in the nation.

Mr. Deatherage led the Northwestern University Debate Society to seven national championships as director from 1990 to 2008.

"If you think the NCAA basketball tournament for college, it's essentially the debate form of that," said LaTonya Starks, who was recruited by Mr. Deatherage in high school.

Mr. Deatherage, 47, died Friday, Dec. 25, in Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a heart attack Dec. 22.

He was known for pushing his students to reach their full potential.

"He believed very strongly in debate and what it could do for students -- how valuable it was for their education," said David Zarefsky, who hired Mr. Deatherage when he was the dean of the university's School of Communication.

Starks said Mr. Deatherage instilled grace and integrity in his students. To them, "Duck" was a legend, mentor and friend.

"He was not only a coach for me, but he was one of those people who whatever you needed he would do that for you, and he became a father to me," Starks said.

Mr. Deatherage was born in Houston and was the youngest of six siblings.

"He was always very opinionated as a child, and as he was growing up and as an adult," said Diana Baldwin, Mr. Deatherage's sister.

He received a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in communication studies from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He moved to Chicago in the mid-1980s to attend Northwestern University, where he got a doctorate in communication studies.

In 2003, Mr. Deatherage was named the Pelham National Coach of the Year. Four years later, he was named the Ziegelmueller National Debate Tournament Coach of the Year. In 2008, he left Northwestern to be executive director of the National Organization for Urban Debate Leagues.

"Scott had seen debate make a tremendous difference in the life of college and high school students and wanted to make sure that that same opportunity was available to women and students of color in working-class schools," said Eric Tucker, the association's deputy director and chief academic officer.

Tucker said Mr. Deatherage's leadership gave 150 urban public high schools nationwide access to debate.

"The debate community and even the urban education reform community has lost a powerful advocate and friend," Tucker said.

Mr. Deatherage also is survived by his brothers, Donald, Patrick, Michael and William Lechner.

Details for services are pending.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 29, 2009, 08:35:56 AM
From Cori Dauber:

Memorial: I have received a number of inquiries as to why no additional information about a memorial has been forthcoming. Several of us have been working with the family on the memorial, at Scott’s request, but we want this to be a true celebration of Scott’s life – and scheduling just gets complicated as we try to balance the needs of several different groups. (And to be honest it just took us a day or two to get our bearings.) As soon as we get a date, we need to be sure the venue we want is available on that date, but we’re very close. As soon as we have the announcement, it will be posted here, and on all the various list serves that are relevant. Thank you all, so much, for your expressions of care and concern.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 29, 2009, 09:43:20 AM
From David Rhaesa:

"I met Duck at the KU Fall tournament freshman year.  He stayed at our apartment.  I took him and Bob Mackey and a couple other young Bears to The Hawk and we all got very drunk.  The next morning the Bears could barely debate they were so hungover.  The Head Jayhawk was not pleased with me.  We didn't debate that often - two or three times - which seems strange given that we were in the same circles.  I've known what a great coach he was, but never knew in what way he was a great coach until this week as I read the testimonials.  I remember once overhearing someone asking him about me (at a time when I was job hunting).  He said some good things and then mentioned that I was irresponsible.  I thought more of him for being honest."
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 29, 2009, 10:06:24 AM
From Josh Zive:

On the island of misfit toys that is college debate, the Duck felt like
a kindred spirit to me.  We were both large, loud,  and comfortable
being very emotional.  Throughout my years in debate, the voice and
visage of the Duck would become one of the touchstones that would let me
know I was in a friendly place--even when that voice and visage were not
being particularly friendly at the time.

I did not know the Duck as debater--I knew him as a coach and judge.
And while the Duck and I disagreed on a wide variety of issues, I always
loved listening to the Duck talk about the things he really loved, his
debaters and the people that make up the history of NDT debate.

A few months ago I found myself sitting at a bar downstairs from my
office with the Duck.  We were supposed to be talking about something
else (likely me giving money to NAUDL), but as I expected, the
conversation turned to our favorite topic--debaters and debates from the
past. What was supposed to be a 15-minute drink turned into a couple of
hours of Duck and I trying to out hyperbolize each other about the
people we loved from debate.

As the conversation continued, we ended up (as we always did) on our
favorite topic to discuss---Mike Gottleib.  Everyone knew that Mike was
a Kansas kid who turned into one of the best debaters ever under the
Duck, but the Duck knew that some of us in Lawrence always rooted for
Mike like he was a blood relative.  Bragging on Mike was easy, but
listening to the Duck talk about Mike could make you feel better even if
you had no idea who Mike was.   When the Duck talked about his former
debaters it was infused with a type of pride and love that is
unmistakable to me now that I have become a father.  For me, a
conversation with the Duck about former debaters was more than a war
story, it was ritual in community. Those conversations could remind you
of how much you loved your coaches as a debater, and how much you loved
your debaters as a coach.  I will miss those conversations because the
Duck understood something that took me a long time to appreciate---that
while personal success in debate is a lot of fun, there is nothing more
rewarding than investing your passion into someone else and watching
them accomplish things you never could.

The last quiet time I spent with the Duck was sitting on the rooftop
patio of Frank Cross's abode in Austin during the NDT.  I remember
sitting with the Duck, Scott Segal, Frank, and Robin Rowland telling war
stories, talking crap, and having fun.  I also remember looking across
the table at Duck and realizing that although we were very different, he
looked genuinely happy and relaxed in ways that were oddly familiar to
me.  I believe that the familiarity grew from a shared sense that being
in the company of our debate friends was often the only place we really
felt relaxed and happy.  That although we certainly love and appreciate
our families and friends not in debate, that the people in debate were
family in every sense that the word family really matters. In the end,
for many of us the people who coached us, that we coached, and that we
competed against are where we find shelter from the storm.

Sitting on that patio laughing, I realized that although there are many
people who knew Duck better than I did, he was a part of my family.  The
Duck was a debater, a coach, and a friend. I miss him.  Some people do
debate.  People like the Duck are debate.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 29, 2009, 10:24:34 AM
From Karen Scott:

OPRF had a lot of interaction with the NU Debate team, so for as long as I can remember I was in awe of the Duck. Like others, I felt a need to impress him even though he wasn’t my coach. Imagine my delight when he invited me to teach at the Coon Hardy. I felt like Sally Field when she accepted that Oscar, “He likes me, he really likes me!” Despite spending the last few days trying to think of a time where I actually did impress him, only this memory comes to mind…we were discussing the logistics of the students’ day off and trip into Chicago. I remembered when I attended the institute Duck gave us a stern warning that members of his staff would be riding the El, and that if any of us were caught on a train, we would be sent home. Thinking I was doing him a favor, I eagerly volunteered to forgo a day of rest and ride the El all afternoon. He paused, gave me a look, and said, “You actually thought we DID that!?” He shook his head in dismay and gave me a huge laugh.

Years later I saw him at Adri and Judd’s wedding. For whatever reason, I didn’t think he’d remember me much, so I gave him a sheepish “hello” and thought that would probably be it. Again, to my delight, he gave me a huge hug, asked how I was doing, and we chatted like old friends. That was the last time I saw him and I wish, now more than ever, I had taken him up on his offer to email him and stay in touch.
Thoughts and prayers to all of you mourning his loss.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: nsmith on December 29, 2009, 12:29:21 PM
Duck was never listening to any old Whitesnake, it was always "Here I Go Again (on my own)."  It was his soundtrack, and it was playing in his head through the best and the worst of times.  He probably heard it in his final moments of awareness.

I think Duck always felt fundamentally alone in making his way in this world.  It explains why he was always there for others when they went through tough times.

This link below is to a version that is acoustic, and the Duck would not approve, but I don't feel much like rocking out today. (


Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: r wood on December 29, 2009, 03:03:09 PM
From David Rhaesa:

Hi, David.  How's life treating you?

Robert Wood
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: BrandonFletcher on December 29, 2009, 04:07:12 PM
Goodbye Duck. All of us together will struggle to make up for a tiny fraction of the passion, spirit, and love you brought to debate and those entwined with it. You offered your great heart to so many of us lost, lonely, misfit, beaten, and simply forgotten. There is so little of you that could be truly lost because you constantly gave yourself away. Among kings, you are a legend. Enjoy a rest in blessed peace. Tears for now-Thanks forever. Brandon
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: lukephill on December 29, 2009, 04:21:26 PM
I have spent the past 5 days in Louisiana, surrounded by friends and family but unquestionably lonely and disconnected.  I love these people and thank them for supporting me during this very tough time.  However, I can honestly say that I have lost the most significant figure in my adult life and I can’t believe that the words that I write now will truly encompass his awesome influence on my life and that of so many others.  Reading the stories and tidbits that others have offered has helped me to put off this explanation and helped me realize, wonderfully, that I was not alone in being so deeply and profoundly affected by my relationship with Scott.  I can honestly say that I would not be doing anything professionally that I do know or do them how I do them without his intervention.  I love my job, I love the Wildcats (they better do well in Tampa!), and I love debate almost entirely as a result one large goofy man who I was terrified of as a freshman in college who I am now proud to call friend and mentor.

A few vignettes into our strange journey:

1)   As a freshman at the Roger’s House I tried to stay low and avoid being noticed.  I was thrilled enough to be a member of the nationally acclaimed Northwestern Debate society I was just trying to avoid being cut.   I still have full notebook of thoughts from the event including the 2 DAYS of lectures from Duck on the nature of federal control in relation to Native Americans.  SOVEREIGN-ITY NOW!    That was before we talked about possible affs on the topic.  .The greatest lesson I took away from the event was the necessity of preparation.  Every day an upperclassman would come in and present an affirmative idea for the room to review.  Duck would tear through them like a hot knife through butter.  Some he would be more excited about than others, but non was near its final product and Duck would let folks know.  “Wow”, I thought “those looked like good affs to me, what was I missing?”   Duck always had a way of looking ahead, seeing all the angles.  And even if he could not express that to you immediately, he knew and you knew that you had missed something.  Second lesson, it’s all about the details.  My first serious interaction with the Duck was a practice round he judged.  We were all first year debaters and it was not a great round.  I cannot forget Duck stopping me during me the cross-ex of the 1ac after I had mis-phrased a question, “DUDE! This is college THE PLAN says, THE PLAN does…”  He took the time to remind a dumb freshman from Louisiana on proper grammar in my cross ex!  Preparation and the details matter from the Roger’s House to the NDT.

2)   I will always remember the first time that I thought Duck knew who I was (knowing him he had some ideas about me long before hand).  We were in the middle of a freshman lecture about imbedded clash and he posed a question to the group about how to rephrase a link argument more efficiently.  I shyly raised my hand and ventured a guess.  Duck stares down for the white board in his slightly hunched over manner and stares for a moment.  “Luke, I guess you’re not as dumb as you look”, he remarks and the lecture rolls on.  The first compliment I ever received from the man who I can now call a great friend and mentor.  I loved that respect and admiration was earned from the Duck, never given freely, but once earned very hard to lose.  I slowly built up a lot of credibility with the Duck, being is personal driver for a while will do that. 

3)   I’m not sure if he liked my intellect, my determination or something else, but after 4 years of debating for the man one day I found Duck coming to me for advice on whether after graduation my partner from the previous year should be lined up for the  B team.  As a recent college graduate with no coaching experience at any level I was shocked and amazed that the Duck would come to me for anything debate related let alone thoughts on pairing a team in line for a first round.  I gave him my thoughts and cheered loudly for NU DD all the way to the Octos of the 2006 NDT.  Duck was the first person to ever hire me as a coach or lab instructor.  I’m pretty sure he saw my future in debate coaching long before I did.  I remember a very long conversation before my senior year in college talking about the possibility of coaching and seriously worrying because of my lack of competitive success, that I could not stand up to other peers (to be fair I graduated with a pretty talented young debater from San Antonio).  Duck looked down at me from his bar stool and I could tell the look behind his eyes, “Dude, are you kidding me?”  He then went on to list a number of current and former coaches that excelled regardless of their competitive past.  This conversation in many ways gave me permission to try and become a debate coach and ignore the path to law school that I had seen myself on for many years.  I thank him for that.

4)   I missed a phone call from Duck and he left me a voicemail.  I had been busy leading a novice debate meeting at the Hooch (teaching novice debate was a passion we shared) and assumed Duck just wanted to chat about travel or some logistical matter.  I opened the voice mail and was greeted by excited Duck.  You know, the Duck who was loud and articulate and punching his words.  He was letting me know about a freshman debater I had coached previously.  She had just presented on a proposed Afghanistan Aff at the Roger’s House and quite simply Duck was blown away.  Using terms of high Duck compliment like “complete package” “home run” and “A PLUS” throughout the message.  I kept that voice mail for a long time.  It was a mini-version of the speech to me.  I subtle reminder of the power of debate.  If I felt down or didn’t remember why I was doing what I was doing I would hit replay.  Duck’s voice coming over the line would remind that I could do could and in the future could do better.  Duck always managed to let you know when you did good, even if you missed it yourself.

5)   The last real conversation Duck and I had was shortly after I picked him up from surgery this December.  We were waiting on his prescription and I could see that he was in pain.  He sat awkwardly in my car and hummed along with the classic rock.  Desperately trying to take his mind off the pain and his medical problems I spun the conversation to something I knew could take his mind away.  The Dallas Cowboys.  He outlined each of the Cowboys upcoming opponents and broke down their playoff chances (Sorry Branson, he was not optimistic).  He complimented me on the Saints season so far and how his Cowboys had no chance against us.  Two weeks later the Cowboys ended the Saint’s chances at an undefeated season.  I never got a call from Duck pointing out that fact.  I’m not sure what I would give for one more call from the man to gloat about a football victory or anything else.  Every conversation with the Duck mattered, you walked away knowing more than you went in and in some way better.

Larry Scott Deatherage is beyond defining in any single story or any single storyteller.  He was a loving, passionate, and loyal.  He was also a determined perfectionist who would let you know if you had not lived up to expectations.  No one worked harder.  No one enjoyed victory more.  More importantly no one enjoyed sharing debate with others more.  Duck always said that debate saved his life.  Thank you Duck for changing my life forever.  I will live each day trying to live the four pillars- character, commitment, team work and hard work.  I will not settle for good when I can be great.  I will be hard on myself when I didn’t give my best and easy on myself when my best wasn’t good enough.

Thank you Duck.  I love and miss you.

Luke Hill
Program Coordinator, Northwestern Debate
NU '05
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 29, 2009, 07:41:21 PM
From Daryl Burch:

Debate has truly lost two formidable minds. i am proud to say that i knew them and am part of the community they worked hard to build. Love you Scott D and Ross S. db
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 29, 2009, 07:47:26 PM
From Chris Duke:

I didn't know him as well but have known Scott a long time - including memories of him borrowed from my HS coach who knew Scott as a HS debater at Friendswood (or Dickinson)...

I had also been following the work he was doing with NAUDL; had and still have it on "my radar" of things to be involved in possibly once I'm done with school (stupid ... See Moredissertation).

The impact he had more directly on people I knew and spent so much weekend time around/with at one point in my life - you included - was immense.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: eharv on December 30, 2009, 11:24:08 AM
To all who knew Scott,

What a shock to learn of Scott's death at the time of Christmas and New Year celebrations.  I first became acquainted with Scott almost 32 years ago---tempus fugit.  I judged Scott in one of his first high school debates.  As a geezer, I do not recall for sure the debate topic; however, think that it was dealing with health care.  Back in the dark ages of debate, debaters used evidence (index) cards.  In the round, Scott rose to give his 1NR, as I recall.  Scott had his evidence cards on top of his flow pad and as he was about to begin----something happened----he tripped, and the index cards went flying in all directions all over the classroom.  I stopped the debate and told him to take his time to collect his cards, order them and his thoughts, and "not to worry."  I do not recall the outcome of the debate round, but I do remember that the young debater had impressed me, and I noted debate promise in him.  I judged Scott more times and my debate teams would work with the Friendswood High School teams and have practice debates.

In retrospect, I think that four circumstances led Scott to debate.  First, the loss of both of his parents; second, his intellect and being different from most of his Friendswood high school peers; third, the need for him to have something to hold onto and ground himself; and fourth, a caring and concerned debate sponsor (whose name I now cannot recall).

I followed Scott's career over the years; and just this year learned of his work as executive director of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues.  I went to the organizational website and thought to myself that Scott now was assisting debaters who may have been much like himself in high school---needing something to hold onto.  And then on December 24, I received an e-mail from a former debater of mine, Chris Duke, informing me of Scott's condition.  I quickly thought back to the first time I ever saw Scott----almost 32 years ago----how time flies.

The best legacy an individual can have is found in the people that the person has touched and helped.  It is clear to me that Scott touched and helped many individuals.  All who were touched and helped should rejoice and celebrate his life and the fact that they had a chance to know Scott, "the Duck".  I know that I feel blessed to have known Scott Deatherage.

God speed.
"See ya,"
E. Harvey Craig (Retired---Hardin HS, Barbers Hill HS, & Lake Travis ISD)

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 30, 2009, 01:31:38 PM
From Jeff Wortman:

After losing three friends far too young in 2009, I am looking forward to the new year. Ron, Spencer and Scott did not know each other, but each in their own ways lived life to the fullest. I wish that I had more time with each of them. In 2010, I want to embrace life. I hope to reconnect with others who have been ...important to me as I have learned too often this year, that life can be too short.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:48:52 AM
From LaTanya Starks:

“I've had my heart beaten down, but I always come back for more, yeah. There's nothing like love to pull you up when you're laying down on the floor, yeah.” – Thanks to my family and friends for all your love and support. I love you all. Thinking of Duck tonight…May he rest in peace.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 08:55:37 PM
From Shirley McCaffity:

I know that I probably drove you crazy over Sean's college career; I called many times to just check on him and see how things were going and you always took the time to talk to me. Even when I sent balloon bouquets to NDT's in your name you were still gracious and let me know how much you appreciated getting them and ...carrying them in the elevator to Sean's room. You recognized Sean's talent and it was definitely your teaching and guidance that led him to the great success he had. Thank you for teaching my son, for watching over him and for being so kind to a crazy debate mother. We as a family will forever remember you.
Shirley McCaffity
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 08:56:35 PM
From Lynn Barber:

I was Scott's colleague at the National High School Institute at Northwestern for about 10 or 12 years. Maybe more. He was truly a scholar and a gentleman. The last time I saw him we had drinks to discuss the future of some debate programs he was in charge of. He was always droll, passionate about young people & educat...ion, and fiercely compassionate. I respected and admired him greatly. I am grateful I got the chance to be in cahoots with him from time to time.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 08:57:27 PM
From Vance Riley:

 I am so saddened by this loss. Scott was my high school classmate, fellow high school debater, and great person. We traveled to many tournaments together in high school and had some great times. He will be missed by all his Friendswood HS Speech friends. We knew he would go on to greatness

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 08:58:09 PM
From Scott's Brother Don:

"I can thank the hundreds of Scott's (Ducks) friend's for allowing myself and family to learn what Duck was all about and how he touched and influence so many lives thru your posting's. I know I tried and maybe not hard enough to know my brother better but I always loved him and respected what... he did thru keeping up with him thru Diana and the college web site. I am sorry Scott's life was cut short that many our lives will not be touched by him but know thru grace of God that he is watching each and everyone of you and expects you all to continue on encouraging and supporting others that are like you were when Scott touched you.
In loving Memory Scott's Big Brother Don"

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 08:59:35 PM
From Northwestern News Center:

December 30, 2009 | Staff
Scott Deatherage, Longtime Debate Coach, Dies at 47

'Debate Coach of the Decade' remembered for his patient and passionate guidance
By Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Debaters tend to avoid superlatives, but people who knew longtime Northwestern University Debate Society director Scott Deatherage have trouble avoiding them. Deatherage died Christmas day of a heart attack at age 47.

As director of Northwestern University Debate Society from 1991 to 2008, Deatherage simply was the "winningest" coach in the history of national collegiate debate.

"Without being careless in superlatives, he was the most accomplished debate coach in recent history and, it might not be unfair to say, the most accomplished debate coach in college debate overall," said Gordon Stables, president of the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA).

Deatherage left Northwestern in 2008 to become executive director of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. There he worked to bring debate -- long gone from inner city high schools -- back to them.

"Scott's name was synonymous with debate," said David Zarefsky, the former dean of the School of Communication who hired Deatherage in 1991 as director of Northwestern's debate team. "It was one of the best hiring decisions I ever made."

Under his leadership, the Northwestern debate team won an unprecedented seven National Debate Tournament (NDT) championships, including three back-to-back wins. Deatherage coached four individuals to Top Speaker awards at the NDT. In addition to other honors, Deatherage was named "Coach of the Decade" for the 1990s by his peers.

"He might also be named Coach of the Decade for the 2000s," Zarefsky said. Deatherage, who was a college debater at Baylor University, served as an assistant debate coach while earning his Ph.D. at Northwestern. "Scott was a respectable debater but he was a superb coach. He always saw the big picture and the details at the same time."

Known as the Duck, Deatherage earned the respect and friendship of his student debaters, who have created a Facebook page in his honor. Called "Honoring and Celebrating the Life of Scott Deatherage," it has been growing by hundreds of members a day.

In addition, the presidents of the three major national debate organizations -- the NDT, CEDA and the American Debate Association -- have organized a tribute.

"There's no doubt that the Duck was instrumental in shaping some of the greatest debaters of all time," said former Northwestern debate team member Shuman Sohrn, a 1999 Northwestern graduate. "I want to make sure people also realize that he was as good at turning directionless students into successful students as at turning decent debaters into good debaters."

"For Scott, it was all about team -- about teammates as family, teamwork as a foundational principle, and winning and losing as a team as an ethos which drove all else," said Northwestern alumnus and two-time NDT champion Ryan Sparacino. He is an attorney at Winston and Strawn LLP in Washington, D.C.

"My debate partner, Mike Gottlieb, and I were fortunate to experience a lot of success as the ‘top team' at Northwestern for a couple of years," Sparacino added. "But Scott was just as happy to see a team of novices succeed in their first (debate) outing as he was to see the top team win a national championship."

"Scott Deatherage has been instrumental in everything I have achieved since the moment I walked onto the Northwestern campus," said Gottlieb, who the day after Obama's inauguaration became Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel. "I am 100% certain that I would not be where I am today without Scott's patient and passionate guidance."

Deatherage is survived by his sister, Diana Baldwin, and by brothers Donald, Patrick, and Michael Deatherage and William Lechner. Memorial service plans are pending. In lieu of flowers, family members ask that donations go to the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues or the Northwestern University Debate Society.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:00:16 PM
From John Jackson:

I think everyone here knew Scott better than I did. My last debate ever was against Deatherage and Dyer: 8th round of of the 1984 NDT. We lost on a 2-1--they went on to octafinals, we went home. I remember thinking that if we had to lose like that, at least it was to people who were genuinely nice guys. I am saddened to hear of his premature passing.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:01:39 PM
From Charley Boynton:

The Duck was the reason that went to (and got into) Northwestern. I am forever greatful for having known him. I think that this picture of him and Luke celebrating after the 2004 NDT sums it up.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:02:21 PM
From Mark Webber:

 I didn't know Scott on a close personal level but I attended the Northwestern Coaches' camp for two or three summers when I was a young coach learning how to coach. I still use one of the lessons he gave us in my classes every year. Realizing that Scott was only a year older than me is daunting because he probably achi...eved more in his life time than most of us could ever achieve in several lifetimes. Scott was a great teacher, coach and a great person. He was always
generous with his time and energy and will always be remembered by me
for that. My condolences to his family and I hope that they can celebrate what a full life Scott had from the words that people have left on this page.
Rest in peace brother. mark webber
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:03:54 PM
From Amy Stroessler:

Scott was one of the sweetest most intelligent men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. My condolences go out to his family and the hundreds of people who are grieving. We love you Scott.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:05:02 PM
From Steven Schneider:

Two memories of the Duck I'd like to share:
 Tue at 11:08pm
Having debated for 4 years for Cori and also having attended institute for 2 summers at Northwestern, there is no doubt I had my fair share of odd, quirky interactions with the Duck. After my final debate at the NDT (there were never any elimination rounds, just another uncerimonious 4-4 or 3-5 exit), he sought me out to congratulate me on my debate career. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I do remember it made me cry. To him, it didn't matter that I wasn't very good at this activity I had devoted so much time and effort to-- he was one of the few that was able to see beyond debate "success" and respectfully recognized the personal accomplishments of my 7 year debate journey.

I randomly ran into Duck while having dinner at a restaurant in Evanston in 2005-ish. It had been a good 7 years since I had seen him last. When I saw him at the restaurant he was so incredibly nice to me-- he remembered who I was, wanted to hear about all of the stuff that I had been up to. He gave me his business card and told me to call him in case I wanted to get back involved (I was living in Chicago at the time). I'm sure he didn't realize it, but that one seemingly innocuous conversation meant a lot to me-- I remember that same rare feeling of debate acceptance afterwards that he had offered to me at the NDT. This time, instead of making me cry, he left with with a wide, glowing smile.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:06:05 PM
From Bridgett Brocken-Smith:

Thoughts about Duck
 Tue at 8:58pm
I was a sophomore at Northwestern when Duck first started his adventure as head coach. I learned so much from him, including:

1. What a valuable gift it is to give someone your complete attention, and to be completely engaged in your interactions with them. We spent a lot of summers working at debate institutes with the Duck, and Chuck commented the other night that it was amazing watching the impact of his interactions with the kids because he devoted so much energy to practice round after practice round after practice round.

2. The importance of Friendswood Hospitality. I was assigned to be Duck's helper with refreshments at the Coon my freshman year after the Motor Pool permanently banned me from driving, and it was the start of a long apprenticeship. I had many fabulous dining adventures with the Duck, and I can still remember how excited he was the first time he took us for barbecue in Waco. We recently had an unexpected guest for a meeting at work, and our project manager was promptly dispatched to the store for diet cokes and a veggie tray.

3. You may think you are done cleaning up, but you are not. If you are one of those lucky Wildcats that has scraped peanut butter off the floor of Tech, you know what I am talking about.

Duck was also an excellent babysitter dispatcher. Several years ago, I emailed our regrets to a reunion due to lack of childcare. He called me up, and insisted that we bring our infant and not yet verbal three year old by the Hardy House, and said, "Listen to me, you need to get out." He enlisted some excellent helpers who packed our kiddos up, and we had a lovely evening.

I've seen a few references to what an amazing memory he had, which Chuck experienced himself when we had our last conversation with Duck a couple of weeks ago at the Chicago kickoff. We were mostly discussing an NAUDL issue, but when he hugged us good-bye he made a quick reference to Mr. Smith's departure from the NDT. It has been wonderful reading all the comments. Thank you for sharing all of your thoughts.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on December 31, 2009, 09:13:44 PM
From Shorge Sato:

Remembering the Duck
 Tue at 12:42pm
I think Duck hated me. Actually, I know so. And understandably - what with the antics I pulled freshman year, including missing a flight to the west coast (where he had to call my mother to find out if I was dead or just overslept) and generally just being a cocky entitled freshman idiot. That was the Duck - he did not tolerate fools and I was a fool. But he was also a teacher: he recognized the inherent potential for growth and change in everyone; he saw it, he nurtured it, and, mainly, he made the fool suffer so that the hard-working, dedicated student inside could emerge. I had to work my way back into his semi-good graces, and, to some degree, I think I succeeded - at least in earning his toleration, if not a begrudging respect. (God and the NYU Law admissions office only knows what he actually wrote in my "letter of recommendation." Whatever it was, it did not dissuade them.)

In the past two years, I've had the opportunity to work closely with Scott on his passion and final calling - the cause of Urban Debate. His eyes would light up when he spoke about the cause, and he could enrapture anyone once he got going. I had the pleasure of introducing him at my law firm where he spoke to a conference room full of high school debaters, and their parents, as well as several attorneys who had never debated in their lives but served as volunteer CDL judges nonetheless. He spoke movingly of how debate saved him, and how he was eternally indebted to the activity, and how urban debate could change lives. He also described me, somewhat to my chagrin (as it was in front of my work colleagues and partners), as an enfant terrible as a freshman (he forgives; not forgets) and how I climbed back out of the deep hole I had dug for myself through hard work, and made it to where I was, because of the things I learned from debate. And he was right. In the past year, we talked about our shared vision of bridging the divide between the "real world" of the law and the insular world of debate. His last note to me sent just a few weeks ago in his patented Duckscrawl was an invitation to grab a drink sometime soon. A simple gesture, and perhaps just a nicety, but I couldn't help but feel the pride of a wayward son who finally earns a glimmer of respect from his father. I deeply regret not taking him up on his offer in time. I really can't believe he is gone.

The Duck will always be the better angel on my shoulder, telling me that if I miss the g****** flight/bus/meeting again, he will rip my g****** f****** head off. Or in a better mood: Be on time. Be considerate. Be prepared. Don't get in the way of your own potential. Words, really, to live by, however stated.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 01, 2010, 09:05:50 PM
From Nishea Clark:

The Duck changed my life. Period. I can't think of anything more profound or interesting to say. And I will always be grateful to him and love him and wish I was able to work with him at NAUDL.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 02, 2010, 04:36:35 PM
From David Glass:

Scott's passing
 Today at 4:13pm
Up to now, I’ve avoided posting a remembrance about Scott.

Instead there was a condolence note to his debaters... and not much about my conversations with Scott over the years.

There was a concern for Scott’s privacy, and his legacy...handling it correctly.

This is a very serious concern.

But in talking with Sherry, and then with Diana, Scott’s sister... and reading all of the posts and messages about Scott, it seems that there is the danger that we may be missing an important opportunity here... what Sherry calls a teaching moment.

And Diana agreed when we spoke that maybe explaining how Scott died could truly add to Scott’s legacy... Maybe it could make Scott’s death more meaningful somehow, if you really understood how he died; there is the hope this understanding will help you be more aware of the issue, and take steps to protect yourself ... And be watchful of your friends. And perhaps it will give you an additional level of understanding... how complicated people are.

Maybe it would save a life, if you knew.

So here are the facts, and a few words about those facts:

Scott Deatherage died of alcoholism.

Scott was an alcoholic.

Scott had quite severe alcoholism for many, many years... leading to pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, three years ago, and finally cirrhosis... a condition where the liver fails due to chronic alcohol toxicity.

The constant alcohol poisoning causes the liver cells to finally die, replaced by fibrotic tissue. In Scott, this condition was so severe that it affected multiple other organ systems... including the blood vessels around Scott’s esophagus. These were the “esophageal varices” that one of the earlier emails mentioned... the liver failure causes an increase in blood pressure, and then you get these highly enlarged blood vessels around the esophagus, the food pipe going to the stomach... and basically those enlarged blood vessels ruptured, causing Scott to have extremely severe internal bleeding. That’s what caused the heart attack, and the coma... Scott entirely bled out, and the emergency docs needed 30 units of blood and blood products to get him stabilized... but by then he was in a coma... with no brain function... already dead for all purposes, with no hope of recovery, given the cirrhosis, the varices, and the multiple organ failure, and now the fact that his brain had been deprived of oxygen for over fifteen minutes, resulting in the final coma.

I mention all these details so people understand how bad it was. His situation at the end was terminal. There was no hope for him. And even before the final disaster, his situation was terminal; his doctors had told him months before that he should start putting his affairs in order... the cirrhosis was too far gone.

How can this be?

This is impossible, you might be thinking. Scott was such a high-functioning individual. Not just high functioning... amazingly high functioning. He was the best at what he did.

That is true. His case was very unusual, but not unheard of, because he managed to do so much. He got his students where they needed to be. He taught and coached at the very highest level of an extremely competitive activity. He was better than everyone else at what he did... coaching against other highly intelligent, motivated people. And also he was a responsible, caring person. And even after he was finished coaching, after he realized he could not continue to function as a debate coach, admitting that at least to himself, he brought increased recognition to an extremely important charitable organization.

All of this is true. And the facts of his death and disease do not detract from his accomplishments.

How come we did not help Scott? How come we did not see what was going on?

The vast majority of people who knew Scott did not know he was an alcoholic... You probably did not know. Scott of course knew. He had a long history of understanding this disease... going back to his childhood... his personal history. He knew.

This is one of the tragedies of alcoholism... how it effects families... In Scott’s case, he drank despite knowing it had killed people he loved. And he drank knowing it was killing him. And he did not tell those who asked and cared about him what was happening. All the skills that made Scott a great debater and coach made him the most effective denier you can imagine. Scott hid his alcoholism from almost everyone. He talked about everything except the alcohol.

Scott’s doctors knew, and they could not get him to quit drinking. Some people around him knew as well, and they tried... they could not get him to face what he was doing to himself... he would not stop. He knew though.

You still can’t believe it.

Look at those pictures of him, from the last six months. That yellow skin? That is not a problem with the camera. That’s jaundice... caused by liver cirrhosis. Jaundice is where you get yellow skin due to liver failure. By then Scott already had the final diagnosis... he knew he was going to die soon of his alcoholism. And yet he continued to drink. When he was diagnosed with pancreatitis years ago, and there was still a chance of turning back, he continued to drink.

Why are you hearing all this? Why not just keep this private?

If you read all the tributes to Scott, almost all of them involve alcohol. People remember drinking with Scott. There were multiple tributes promising that a drink would be raised in his memory. The first time he bought a student a glass of Makers Mart... that was a special thing... Alcohol is such a part of all these tributes, that it seems important to point out the deadly disease underlying all this. ...So the same thing is less likely to happen to you or someone else you care about. So that you understand that you cannot lead a life this way, without dying too young.

Why didn’t we save him? How could this have been allowed to go on?

Those clichés you have read are true... you really can’t just swoop in and save someone who does not want to be saved. They need to be willing to accept help. That sounds ridiculous, easy... it is not. Please know there was no shortage of people whose hearts were broken a couple of weeks ago by what happened. Broken. Such a brilliant guy. Such a good person. We should have seen, done more... we should have been able to help him. But we could not. He hid the facts. He did what most alcoholics do... he avoided telling people who cared about him what was happening. If you were to tell someone a year ago even, when the cirrhosis was already too far gone, that Scott was an alcoholic, they would not believe you. They’d think you were being an alarmist... exaggerating... but he’d been an alcoholic for years by then. You don’t die at 47 of cirrhosis, with a history of pancreatitis, unless you’ve been drinking yourself to death for years. It really is unbelievable though...

So what do you do with this news?

Think about it. Think about your own choices. Understand that how you treat yourself and your body matters. Your health matters. People who debate often seem to think they can argue their way out of anything... that these things doctors or people say may not be true.. that it all may be a scam. It is not a scam. Cigarettes really do increase the chance you will get cancer. Obesity really does lead to Type II Diabetes and heart disease. Alcohol abuse really does lead to alcoholism. All of these things really will kill you prematurely. There is a strain of addictive behavior that is in common with the same kind of focus that makes debaters very successful. Recognize this. Understand the difference between behavior that helps and behavior that is life-threatening.

Live hard, die young?

Mick Jagger is in his 60s now. He is still rocking. Bruce Springsteen is still a genius. Philip Roth is still writing great books. There is nothing good or romantic about dying young. All it does is cut you short.... before you accomplish everything you are capable of accomplishing. Before you meet your great love. Before you have that last good meal... or see Venice at sundown. Before you save someone’s life, or seem them through. There is no romance in shortening your life. There is no glory in it.

But what of Scott? How might he be remembered?

This is how I'll remember him... Scott Deatherage was a great man. He taught some of our best young minds how to be better. He inspired several generations of students to accept nothing but excellence. Scott accepted nothing but excellence. You might think this contradicts the above, but that is exactly the point. It is a contradiction... one he lived with every day. Scott was a perfectionist about debate, but he was a human being as well. A flawed human being. ... We need to understand this contradiction, is possible even if we don’t fully understand.

What about the why? Why did he drink?

It is a fraught game to try to answer the why... fraught... Who can presume to know what is going on in someone else’s mind? And drinking is only a choice in the beginning... once the addiction kicks in, it is no longer a choice, it is an addiction... and you need a special act of will to break through that. For some, the family history is in part a genetic issue... but there is more than that given a family history... in some it is a way that a person deals with the pain of experience. These are difficult things to resolve even if you’re in the middle of them, giving counseling. Who among us can truly claim to know another... to really understand. I don’t know why.

Moving forward...

There will of course be a memorial for Scott. Hopefully all of you who knew him will be able to attend... all who found themselves improved from having come in contact with him... who loved him... who appreciated his help and support.
Scott’s life was a struggle. He struggled every day. But he achieved so much. He deserves some additional level of understanding... a higher level of appreciation. He deserves that you know him more fully and still support him, with a more complete understanding of what he went through.

At last...

It was not easy writing this. It is a risky thing to do. A man’s legacy is a precious thing. And so is his life. And so is your life... and your legacy. The hope is that you will take from Scott’s experience what you can... take from it those parts that will make you great. But please let alone that part that is best let alone... and walk away from a path which leads to great sadness... and tragic loss. Honor Scott for his greatness, and understand that he was a human being.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: r wood on January 02, 2010, 05:10:11 PM
for a couple of days now, i've been thinking to myself, "we're not hearing the full story re how he died."

may he rest in peace.  my sister died the same way.  very sad.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: Matthew.Cook on January 02, 2010, 09:46:50 PM
Never knew Scott Deatherage. Saw him a couple times and immediately identified him as Scott Deatherage. Beyond that, he was a figment of oral tradition to me. I hate it when people pontificate about someone they never really knew; like their passing was somehow only significant after the fact. But Glass's description centered Scott's death within my personal history with the bottle. Its not as if I didn't know what alcoholism could do: my family's blood is tainted with this predisposition and too many have fallen to it. Its not as if Scott didn't know either, from the sound of it. So, if i know, and Scott knew, then you probably all know too. You can point to an example of its tragedy. You can point to counter examples too; people who live-on despite the disease. Rules and exceptions abound. Point is this: regardless of the outcome, alcoholism is too often endured alone. I'm not calling for interventions, i'm calling for a personal admittance. This requires courage and patience. Just don't be alone. That's it. 

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2010, 12:07:02 AM
From Kevin Hamrick:

Kevin Hamrick commented on David Glass's note "Scott's passing":

"Thanks David for saying what desperately needed to be said publicly.

For the past two weeks I've alternated between being extremely angry and horribly guilty - angry at Scott for finally succeeding in killing himself (yes he knew what he was doing) and guilty for my role in enabling this behavior for (literally) two decades.  Scott suffered from extreme depression.  Whether this was the cause or the effect of the drinking hardly matters.   As you note, it's a testament to Scott's extraordinary abilities that he was able to accomplish as much as he did.  Scott's greatest talent IMHO was knowing how to extract the very best from those around him.

It's no secret that both our personal and professional relationship had atrophied in the last few years until ultimately I decided that I could not and would not participate in his death march any longer.  Until your post, I felt obligated to keep his (open) secret.
The last time I saw Scott was at Ross' funeral in July.  I knew that Scott was terribly sick.  It meant the world to me that he had made the trip to WS in order to honor Ross.  We shared an extended silent hug but exchanged few if any words.

I loved Duck like he was my brother.  It was a privilege to work with him, but it was not easy.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2010, 12:07:59 AM
From Asher Haig:

I think more of us knew this than the note suggests...

First we mourn, then we celebrate the life, then we look back and learn... Maybe...

Thanks for making sure we don't forget the last part. As much as Duck may have kept things quieter, we can be sure now that he would now be standing there, telling us how he can say from personal experience everything that you just relayed.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2010, 12:08:48 AM
From Stefan Bauschard:

Struck by how Scott chose to spend what he knew were his final days...doing all he could to build the institutional capacities of the NAUDL...very few would have made that decision
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2010, 12:09:37 AM
From Marie Dzuris:

Thank you for writing this - I am glad it is out there to be discussed rather than being talked about in a low whisper (and it was being talked about). I agree with Sherry that's it a teachable moment - not to be lost. You said what many of us wanted to say but you were much more eloquent:-)
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson on January 03, 2010, 03:16:41 AM
Amazing stuff.

As a community we lost so much last year.

That those who we lost lived hard is something of an open secret, but one that we all bear. I am in awe of David's courage in sharing his thoughts.

May we all bear these open secrets together not as burdens but as lessons for the lives we lead for those we love. I have seen good and bad in this community in the 13 years that I have been privileged to participate in it, and while the good so regularly outweighs the bad that one cannot bear to leave this community, it would be a lie to say that the bad does not stay with us. It does. But so does the good, in every charitable moment inspired by Ross K. Smith, in every 1AR full of embedded clash taught by The Duck (who said, without a hint of irony or shame, that he was to be referred to as "The Duck" in a brief but friendly email message to me many years ago when I addressed him as Doctor. When I incredulously asked Alan Coverstone why he was called "The Duck", Alan simply responded: "you'll see").

Alcoholism is difficult to talk about. It is especially difficult to reconcile its reality with our heroes. My family history is riven with the effects of this disease. So too, I guess, are my heroes. I never debated for the Duck, but his opinion meant a lot to me ever since I was privileged to have him and Michael Gottlieb as my lab leaders 10 years ago at the Zarefsky Scholars institute. Its a testament to his teaching power that  the most meaningful moment I ever had a debate judge was after a contentious decision in the finals of the Shirley when I was at Wake Forest. I judged it around midnight, after having worked through the whole Shirley (and tabbing it with Ross, which was not, you might say, the most "low intensity" job). It was a 2-1, and the losing team fought me and Kevin Hamrick tooth and nail in the postround discussion. After the debate, the Duck came up to me, completely unsolicited, and told me that I had handled myself expertly in the postround, and that he was proud and impressed. As a young judge it meant a lot to my ego, but as I reflect upon it more, it means so much more that he would take the time to deliver a compliment to someone who had done nothing more than merely sat in the Hardy House for 3 weeks as a foolish 16 year old.

I am so sad that I am not in California to share hugs and smiles and tears with so many of you that I consider to be my family in this new year, but I am blessed to be able to see many of you in Texas shortly, all of whom are, in their own way unknown to themselves, carrying on the legacies of the people who came before them. We all might this week have one or two more drinks than usual as we wish goodbye to 2009 with our extended family, and some may savor one more cigarette outside a tournament if they find themselves near someone gruff yet genial, but everyday we might find ourselves writing and rewriting the lessons and legacies given to us by those who have come before us. We are, I think, up to the challenge.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2010, 09:39:10 AM
From Marc Rubenstein:

I'm one of the shocked people. It belies many of the stereotypes of alcoholics (though I guess consistent with some others). When we spoke a few weeks ago his memory was impeccable (even better than mine about my own debate rounds from almost 20 years ago) and he was incredibly professional and earnest in his work for NAUDL. It's a good reminder to all of us of the preciousness of the short life we have and to try to keep our bad habits in check even when it's hard. David, thank you. I wish I knew Scott better than I did.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2010, 10:33:58 AM
From Barbara Reeder:

no words suffice to pay tribute to this man who gave his all for the students he reached and touched and cared about. RIP! He will be missed.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 03, 2010, 10:37:30 AM
From Rakhael Ross:

I met Scott at Yoshi's Cafe. It was always a special night when Scott arrived to sit at the bar and add to the conversation among many Yoshi friends. We miss you Scott!!
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 04, 2010, 07:44:11 AM
From Tom Isaacson:

I want to thank you [David] for your post regarding Scott's death.  Although I did not know Scott, apart from a few brief meetings over the years, I assumed there was a significant connection between the drinking described in the remembrances and his death.  I hoped that someone would have the courage to raise the issue, both to teach and also because I was cringing at all the celebrations of drinking.  And I if I found them awkward, I assume it was far worse for those who knew and loved Scott.  Your post hit all the right notes -- it was informative, sensitive and much more.  It gave full justice to an extremely difficult issue.
I suspect everyone has their stories from debate.  One of my coaches, Herb James, nearly died from alcoholism but pulled back from the brink and lived well into his 80s.  There was at least one alcoholic, or alcoholic-to-be, among the dozen or so debaters on the squad.  I doubt it's a coincidence.  I'm not sure whether debate attracts people who have a tendency toward alcoholism, but the culture, and the intensity, travel, tournaments, parties, etc., probably make the odds quite high that someone with any tendency in that direction will travel well down the path.
The activity seems a lot more open to discussing these sorts of issues than it once did.  Perhaps your post will stimulate a broader discussion and much good will come of it. 
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 04, 2010, 09:54:17 AM
From Chicago Sun Times:,CST-EDT-laura04.article#

 Debate coach changed students' lives

January 4, 2010


They called him "The Duck." As I reeled from the shock of the untimely death of my good friend Scott Deatherage, that was the biggest surprise.

The Duck?! I had never heard that until I began reading the hundreds of e-mails, texts, and Facebook missives spreading the news that Scott was gone.

Where did such a moniker come from for this towering, focused communications Ph.D.? The big guy with the Texas drawl, who could regurgitate every argument and fact disseminated on the Sunday morning political talk shows -- then go to battle with his own razor-sharp analysis.

Was "Duck" a nod to his placid demeanor? Those sleepy, hound-dog eyes? Or the feathery wisps sprouting from his prematurely balding pate? I soon learned it was a treasured term of endearment from the beloved students of Larry Scott Deatherage, my friend and America's premier debate educator. He died of cardiac arrest on the threshold of Christmas morning. He was 47.

Before taking the helm in 2008 as executive director of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, Scott led Northwestern University's famed debate team to seven national championships. "The winning-est debate coach on the planet" taught, mentored and coached thousands of high school and college students, said Eric Tucker, his friend and deputy.

Scott was "at the pinnacle of his career" as a college debate coach when he left Northwestern, Tucker said. "He decided to devote his life to work with students in hard-hit schools who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to debate."

The nonprofit association promotes and organizes debate leagues at urban high schools nationwide, particularly among students from minority and low-income families. Studies show that debate is an intellectual lifeline for these youths, steeping them in core academic skills such as literacy, critical thinking, research, communication, organization and argumentation.

Debate had once been a path to success for the privileged at elite universities, those headed for law, politics and other rarefied halls of power. Scott helped change that.

Ask Tracy Carson, who grew up in Roseland and discovered debate at Morgan Park High School. She met Scott in her senior year. At first, "I was intimidated," she recalled. "Everybody called him 'The Duck.' He was really, really, really, really, tall. He was the most successful college debate coach ever."

He recruited her for a high school debate institute at Northwestern -- on full scholarship. Later, as a full-time NU student, she became one of the first African-American women to win a major college debate.

"He was so generous, so nice, so warm," Carson recalled. "Scott made you feel as if you belonged."

His best advice is with her still: "Never settle for being good, when you can be great."

Carson, 27, went on to Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship and a doctorate in South African history. Later this month, she will dispatch to a State Department job in Namibia to work on the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Would that have been possible without Scott, I asked.

"Oh, no."

Add up all the Tracys.

During Scott's short tenure, the association built new urban debate leagues in eight cities, including Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis and San Francisco. This year, 5,000 students will debate in 24 cities.

Scott cared a lot and worked too hard. It did him in.

Back to "The Duck." Long ago, Scott was in the middle of a debate tournament. He discovered he had misplaced a file and ran down the hall to retrieve it. Someone shouted, "he runs like a duck!" Scott turned red, pointed a finger and screamed, "Don't you ever call me that again!"

It stuck.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 04, 2010, 11:00:43 AM
From John Barrett:

David, you have my thanks and great admiration too. We both know that a note like yours could have been written about geniuses, including debaters and debate coaches, other than Scott. I am hopeful that your brave, wise writing and our thinking and talking about it might really help people and maybe even prevent casualties. I know that we're all lucky to have your care.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 04, 2010, 05:21:07 PM
From Michael Antonucci:

Eulogy is hard. Complicating a eulogy is really, really hard. Reductionism's the real enemy of memory, and you [David Glass] combat it gracefully.

I worked for the Duck, as a Northwestern coach and a summer instructor. We shared some foibles that made that difficult. It was also intensely rewarding and life-altering for me. It is gratifying to see him remembered as an admirable and complicated whole.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: John Bredehoft on January 05, 2010, 11:35:12 AM
David, thank you for that painful and heroic posting about Scott.  As Tom Isaacson's reminiscences of Dartmouth in the 1970s and 1980s note, and as the pain I suffered when I lost a debate partner and best friend periodically reminds me, our wonderful activity attracts the brilliant, the eccentric, the driven -- and the compulsive.  Many of us share or have shared more than one of these characteristics.  Our deeper knowledge of Scott's passing does not dim his light.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 06, 2010, 12:30:14 AM
From The Daily Northwestern:

The Daily Northwestern
Memory of NU debate coach Larry Scott Deatherage honored

By Lauren Mogannam

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Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Larry Scott Deatherage. Photo courtesy of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

Leading the Northwestern University Debate Society to an unprecedented number of national championships and working with the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, Larry Scott Deatherage touched countless lives in his 47 years.

“He was the single most successful college debate coach in history,” said Eric Tucker, deputy director of the NAUDL.

Deatherage died Dec. 25 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after experiencing a heart attack Dec. 22.

Deatherage's colleagues said he could bring out the best in others and push them to their full potential. Deatherage had an uncanny ability for finding and developing talent, said Barbara Reeder, administrative director of Northwestern's National High School Institute.

“He took a fabulous program and exploded it to a national-caliber program,” Reeder said. “As far as our program, he was the heart and soul.”

Deatherage was the director of the debate society from 1990 to 2008. During his 18-year career, he led NU to seven championships and had four debaters earn Top Speaker awards at the National Debate Tournament. His peers named Deatherage “Coach of the Decade” for his work in 1990s.

Bridget Brocken Smith (WCAS '93) was a member of the debate society under Deatherage and later worked with him for 10 years at NU’s National High School Institute.

“(Deatherage) knew the importance of devoting complete attention and energy to teaching,” Smith said. “He was engaging with everyone and made them feel they were making an important contribution.”

In 2008 Deatherage left his position at NU to become the executive director of the NAUDL, where he helped launch 150 new debate programs at urban schools, Tucker said.

“He brought the academic rigor and commitment to excellence that he developed at Northwestern to hard-hit urban schools around the county,” he said. “He brought that intensity to make an activity available to students who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance.”

Since his death, friends and debaters have created a Facebook group called “Honoring and Celebrating the Life of Scott Deatherage.” The group had more than 800 members Monday night. Three national debate organizations have also created forums to remember Deatherage.

“As an educator he impacted tens of thousands of young people, and the Facebook page and forums are really only a scratch on the surface of the profound and lasting difference he made,” Tucker said. “We have lost a talented champion and a committed friend.”

Deatherage is survived by his sister, Diana Baldwin, and by brothers Donald, Patrick and Michael Deatherage and William Lechner. A memorial service will take place on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. in Alice S. Millar Chapel. In lieu of flowers, his family asked donations go either to NAUDL or to the NU Debate Society.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: Julie Garcia on January 06, 2010, 09:05:14 AM
John, your posting actually inspired me to register here so I could thank you.  I too was one of the naive and totally shocked ones to learn of Scott's severe alcoholism, and I have been struggling to make sense of it.  I have spent a bit of time reflecting on and deriving comfort from your sentiments, and those of others here - thank you all for sharing.  I wanted to add that for me, this new information (knowing what he accomplished in light of what he was trying to overcome) not only does not dim Scott's light, but makes it shine all the brighter.  
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 06, 2010, 10:38:36 AM
From Jeffrey Paul Smith:

 I met Scott in 1983 (!) when we were both young political activists, and over the years celebrated his phenomenal successes, helped with some passages, relied on his constancy, and was always awed by the clarity he could summon to analysis. His dedication in recent years to his younger debate charges was an inspiration. A great mind, a supporter, a friend.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: John Bredehoft on January 06, 2010, 01:58:52 PM
Thank you, Ms. Garcia, for your note.  I debated in high school and college from 1972 through 1980, and remained active coaching, judging, and teaching institutes for several years thereafter.  In those days, alcohol was the drug of choice and omnipresent.  What we thought were harmless rites of passage and mile-markers on the road to maturity were, in reality, warning signs.  Debaters as a group are warm, witty, and convivial, even sober, and in those days when 18-year-olds could legally buy cases of bourbon (not that we did), we paid too little attention to the signs of excess.  I hope the posting by David Glass (whom I have admired since his high school days) makes a difference in at least one life.  Although I met Scott when he was in high school, our interaction recently had been limited to a handful of e-mails over the last few months.  Nevertheless, I hope that he would have been pleased at the dialogue that has been initiated.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 07, 2010, 10:37:52 AM
From North by Northwestern: Letter to the Editor by LaTonya Starks

 Letter   / Jan. 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm
Letter to the Editor: On Scott Deatherage passing
By Letters

Larry Scott Deatherage, known as Scott to his colleagues and peers, known as “The Duck” to his beloved debate family, passed away on Christmas morning.  The evening before he left us, he was surrounded by those he loved the most — members of his family, former debaters with whom he had become inseparable friends, and perhaps the most important of all, The Duck was enveloped by the love from kind thoughts, text messages and phone calls that poured in to his modest room in the Northwestern Memorial Intensive Care Unit from all over the world.

I was one of the blessed few on hand to witness it all — not simply the beyond-touching scene, set in a the uncommonly warm glow of the hospital room of a great man, rendered unconscious by his infirmity, but the Scott Deatherage known by so many throughout the years as an unyielding champion of knowledge, ardent lover of the art of argumentation and a gentle soul.  The Duck was an enigma — an unsolvable Rubik’s Cube only God could create.  Yet if you were fortunate enough to be allowed into his inner circle, to gain his unwavering trust, you could open up a world of mystery and take a step toward knowing the person and not just the legend.

It is incredibly easy to think of Scott Deatherage simply in terms of the success he sought and achieved on a constant basis.  With Bachelors and Master Degrees from Baylor and a PhD from Northwestern University in tow, Scott began coaching debate at Northwestern in 1986.  By 1990, he was the director of the Northwestern Debate Society, where he went on to lead teams to National Debate Tournament Championships seven times in twelve years.  For those of you who are not familiar with debate, think a college basketball program winning the NCAA Championship seven times, and doing it twice in back-to-back years of competition, in twelve years.  Think of the dedication, the long hours and the pure heart such a feat would take.  Think of all of these things, and you think of Scott Deatherage.  The competitive dominance demonstrated by The Duck and his teams led to Deatherage being voted “Coach of the Decade” in the 1990s by his peers.

Yes, The Duck’s unheard of brilliance in all things debate and the awards he garnered as a result would be the perfect fodder for a piece honoring the life of a man known and loved by many, but it would not get to the heart of the matter.  In truth, Duck was the heart and soul of Northwestern Debate.  He became a cherished mentor to many and a counselor in times of strife for nearly all who crossed his path. I first had the honor of meeting THE L. Scott Deatherage while still a sophomore in high school.  I was in the first class of the Chicago Urban Debate League, a program instituted to bring policy debate to inner-city schools, to benefit students who perhaps needed debate, and all of its many lessons, the most.  Debate was such a far-fetched idea to me at that time.  The concept seemed something reserved solely for middle-to-upper-class, and typically white, males.  Debate did not seem like an activity that could be broken into by the likes of a group of wide-eyed, unskilled teens from the South Side of Chicago.

Scott felt differently.  He was one of the original board members of the Chicago Debate Commission, the organization responsible for bringing debate to Chicago’s public schools.  He believed that debate had saved his life and that it could save the lives of many others as well.  He did not care where we were from or who we were, he just believed we could be great.

During my senior year of high school, we had the honor of having our Chicago Debate League City Championship tournament on the campus of Northwestern University.  I knew I had applied to college there and that it was the school of my dreams.  Moreover, I knew that I wanted to debate for the legendary Duck and the Northwestern Wildcats.  I vowed to do all that I could to get myself noticed, even though, I must admit, I found him to be beyond intimidating in all ways.  He cut an imposing figure, both physically and psychologically.  He towered over me, standing at about six feet and three inches.  Moreover, the stories of his ability to mold young promise into championship form preceded him.  I remember going through the whole tournament, hoping he would come and watch one of my debates, and that perhaps I could make some modicum of a good impression.  Alas, I did not see him until the final awards ceremony, where I shook nervously as he personally handed me my first place individual speaker trophy.  He shook my hand and said, “Congratulations, LaTonya.  Great tournament.”  He knew my name!  Yes, it could have been simply been because he had just read it off of a list, but I felt my foot was in the door.

Not long after, I received an invitation to come watch a college debate tournament being hosted by Scott on the Northwestern Campus.  On the first day, Duck took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to ask me if I had time for a chat with him.  I somehow uttered the word, “Yes…”.  I was wrought with anxiety.  The idea that I would get a private audience with such a man amazed me.  Duck escorted me to me to an empty cafeteria in the Tech building, where he sat me down to tell me how he had watched me develop as a debater throughout the years and was happy I had decided to apply to Northwestern. He remarked that he had been standing, out of sight, outside the door of several of my debates at the Chicago Debate League City Championships and that he liked what he heard.  My heart pounded and filled with joy all at once.  Not only had I been on this man’s radar, but he was actually recruiting me to debate for one of the greatest collegiate programs in all of history.

Our conversation ended by him telling me that he truly believed that I could be great.  Great. I was sold.  I enrolled at Northwestern that fall and became the first African-American female to ever debate for four years in the history of the NU debate society.  I did this not because I particularly felt it important to seek individual success, but because Duck taught me, and those on our team, four simple principals that he called the Four Pillars:  character, commitment, teamwork and hard work.  Duck taught us to live and breathe as a team.  “When one of us wins,” he often remarked, “we all win.  When one of us loses, we all lose.”  Those words not only reverberate through the rooms of the Hardy House, our debate headquarters on the NU campus, but also are evident in the approach we take to each tournament.  We seek to be excellent in all we do.  No other school has a more dedicated network of alumni — so dedicated that on the eve of his death, calls, texts and emails poured in from literally around the globe to say “goodbye” one last time to a man who became a father figure and life changer. No other man could bring a team together with more ease, be it in life or death.

Last night, our team of Stephanie Spies and Matt Fisher won the 2009 Berkeley Debate Tournament.  Dressed in purple, a dedicated collection of past and present debaters and coaches gathered around and celebrated a not just a tournament victory but the legacy of a man.  I wept as a flood of realizations crept in — I thought to myself, we did this the right way.  We did not allow the passing of our beloved coach, mentor and best friend to stop us in our pursuit of greatness.  We came together as a team and we won, despite incredible odds.  We had every reason to give up, mourn our loss and lick our wounds.  Instead, we took the advice that Duck gave to us all when he coached at his last National Debate Tournament before retiring from Northwestern to become the Executive Director of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues in 2008.  Scott said, “Do not try to win this one for me.  Do not think of me when you prepare for this tournament — think of yourselves.  Think of your team.”  We mourn the loss, we celebrate the legacy and we live, fight and die as a team.  In this way and many others, the legacy of L. Scott Deatherage, of our Duck, will live on forever.

We miss you and love you, Duck.  Your lessons are and always will be a part of Northwestern Debate.  Thank you.
LaTonya Starks
Northwestern University and Debate Society Class of 2004
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: pcdeatherage on January 08, 2010, 09:27:48 PM
I’ve always felt that one’s goal in life should not be to accumulate the most material things, the biggest car or fanciest house, or to have the most #1 trophies in the glass case down the hallway. It took a lot of years, more than I want to admit, but it finally occurred to me that success is simply to be a positive influence on another persons life. But not only that, true success would be to influence that person to be a positive influence on even another person…

Little did I know that baby brother Scott felt the same way. After reading message upon message left for him, the glowing obits and seeing the sites dedicated to him, I stand in awe of this person they call “The Duck”. And knowing to well some of the Deatherage traits, now I’m sure that for each good comment there are some out there that feel somewhat the opposite (at least a few select waiters at the Fish Market) but obviously the kid did good. Real good.

Human nature has proven time and time again how extremely difficult trying to influence a young person can be, but the amazing Mr. Deatherage, he had the key...and Lord knows the boy touched some lives. I like to think that he wielded his passion for debate like an artist’s brush, creating one masterpiece after another. He combined his photographic memory with an almost unerring logic, mixed in the determination of a Deatherage and with a liberal dose of quick thinking, sculpted winning minds in a way that Michelangelo could only paint.

Perhaps that’s a bit idealistic but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  While reading all the messages I was reminded of the final scene of the movie “The Last Samurai”. The Emperor asks, “tell me how he died”...Algren replies, “I will tell you how he lived”.

And you all have told us that Larry Scott Deatherage lived. A hero to some, to some a legend; a leader, teacher, a friend, a well respected man. We have been given a sampling of his world and it shows us a lot of the Scott we never knew. Nothing we can ever say can express how much this means to us. Thank you.

Many times over the last 30 years and especially during the ‘08 family reunion, I wondered why couldn’t it be different, why couldn’t we be a closer knit bunch, but now ironically enough I wonder, would I dare change anything. Of course, at least one thing. But very simply, David Glass has said it best and I also want to personally thank him for his message on Scott. It couldn’t have been said any better. Thank you Mr. Glass.

Life, when it comes down to it, it’s all relative, and we have no choice but to accept it -  it is what it is. In Scott’s own words, “the past is relevant only insofar as it informs the future”. It is up to us to decide what to do with that knowledge. In any case, Scott touched lives with his life. Will he touch lives with his death? Will he have guided us to a new subject and oversee spirited debates flavored instead with a espresso laden latte or Green Chai Tea?  Will Scott’s own Deatherage family become just a little closer? Apparently one of his favorite lines was “once family, always family”. Don’t know about you but it took me a long time to realize that family is the key.

Now I just gotta find the door.

With love,

ps: I "debated" Scott once. He was about 10 and I handed him his Christmas gift. He said, “I don’t have to open it, I know what it is, it’s a such and such electronic football game.” I tried to convince him that it wasn’t and he would have to open it to find out  but of course he immediately saw right through me. About 37 seconds is all I lasted.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 09, 2010, 08:45:06 AM
From Scott's Family:

Memorial Set for Legendary Coach Deatherage

Dr. L. Scott Deatherage, 47, native of Friendswood, TX, died Christmas day in Chicago. Born January 2, 1962, he was the fifth son to Robert and Evelyn (Spanihel) Deatherage. Graduating from Friendswood in 1980, he went on to receive his BBA and MA from Baylor. He found a home at Northwestern University, where he received his PhD in 1994 and was Director of the Debate Society for 18 years. During this time, his teams achieved unparalleled competitive success, and he served as a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies.

Scott's name is synonymous with debate. The "winningest" coach in the history of national collegiate debate, he led the Northwestern University team to an unprecedented seven national championships in 14 years.

During his tenure, he coached four individuals to Top Speaker awards at the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and directed four winners of the NDT Copeland Award. In 2003, he was named the Pelham National Coach of the Year. In 2007, he received the George W. Ziegelmueller National Debate Tournament Coach of the Year Award. Scott became a legend in his own time. Known as "The Duck," he was voted the "Coach of the Decade" for the 1990s by his peers.

Over the years, he learned and taught the ability of debate, using the power of sharp thinking, persuasive communication, and argumentation to transform the lives of students. He wielded his passion for debate like an artist’s brush, creating one masterpiece after another, teaching and guiding his students to find their own passion. He combined his photographic memory with an almost unerring logic, mixed with the determination of a Deatherage and a liberal dose of quick thinking, to sculpt winning minds in a way that Michelangelo could only paint.

It was his destiny to join the NAUDL - the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. His one goal in life, what little he knew he had left, was "to build debate programs in the many thousands of high schools across the United States where that opportunity has not existed for a long, long time." As executive director, in just the last two years, Scott led the NAUDL to bring urban debate to eight new cities and 150 new schools, serving over 1,500 students per year.

He is survived by his sister, Diana Baldwin, of Columbia, MO, and his brothers - Donald Deatherage and wife Rita of Waco, TX; Patrick and wife Sheila; and Michael and wife Emma Deatherage of Houston, TX; as well as William Lechner of Virgina and many nieces and nephews. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 16, 2010, at the Chapel of Sagemont Church, 11300 S. Sam Houston Parkway E., Houston, TX 77089. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations go to the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues or the Northwestern University Debate Society.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 16, 2010, 07:59:34 AM
From Paul Jones:

During the 85/86 academic year, Scott shared an apartment with Mark Dyer and myself at Baylor. What an amazing guy! So thoughtful and interesting! Great sense of humor! And the only guy I knew who cleaned the house when he was bored!
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 16, 2010, 08:00:15 AM
From Sharon Crisp:

My cousin Scott who I saw in 2008. Such regrets that we never knew each other more. My loss..............................
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 16, 2010, 08:01:20 AM
From Mark Frazier:

 i have fond memories of scott during our time together at the g.r.c debate forum at baylor. a brilliant, gentle giant. may he rest in peace.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 18, 2010, 02:39:09 PM
From  Julie Dumont Rabinowitz :

 I was shocked and saddened to hear about Duck's passing. We will all miss Duck, who touched so many lives. But as I read these reminisces, what shines through to all of us who coach, teach, and/or parent is that we are always a role model, and we are always touching the lives of others, often in ways we shall never know. Let us take Duck's example as a reminder to be there for our friends, family, and students, and do what we can to make lives better.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 18, 2010, 02:40:33 PM
 From Steven Deatherage:

  The Deatherage family finished up a wonderful day together. This day we celebrated our beloved Scott. We shared fond memories of him.

After the Houston memorial service we went to my parent's house (Michael and Emma Deatherage). There, we enjoyed eachothers company. We also renewed our collective commitment to continue getting together annualy for reunions. We enjoyed watching the DVD of Scott's '09 Northwestern debate speech.

I enjoyed hearing family stories and getting to better know my family members.

Jessica and I look forward to our upcoming visit to Chicago to take part in the next memorial service. Personally, I feel honored to be related to someone who made such a difference in so many people's lives.

More importantly I look forward to continue to spend more time with our family.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 18, 2010, 10:33:48 PM
From Sean McCaffity:

I have no words really. I have been and continue to struggle with all of our collective loss. I miss him terribly. I have kept my comments up to now brief and direct to Scott. Letting him know that I love him and such.

I had the great honor and privilege of being asked to speak at Duck's memorial service in Houston this past Saturday. For those of you that were there, you know that I did not make it through my comments without tearing up. Well, that's an understatement. I broke down numerous times and struggled to finish. But I managed to hit the highlights of my prepared remarks.

After talking with Scott's family before and after the service, it was self-evident that they have truly enjoyed seeing all the posts, comments, and notes about Duck on the internet. They have taken a true measure of joy and pride in knowing the scope and impact of Scott on so many young lives across the country. So, I thought it made sense for me to post my prepared remarks for everyone, including Scott's family. I have never given a speech at a memorial service or a eulogy of any sort. It was incredibly difficult. I managed to choke out the highlights from this speech, but here is what I intended to say had I had been able to hold back the waterworks. Of course, all that really matters is that Duck knows that I loved him and did my very best to honor him. Here it is:

"My name is Sean McCaffity. I am from Garland, Texas and I debated at Northwestern University for Scott “Duck” Deatherage from 1992 through 1996. I had the good fortune of being coached to two national championships by Duck. Before my last debate during my senior year in 1996, I spent some time thinking not about the debate to occur (it was a new case, so there was not much to prepare for anyway), but reflecting on my time with Duck. I scratched out a handwritten note and right before the first speech started, I slipped him the note and told him to not read it until after this debate began. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote on that note and I don’t know where it is now. I know he kept it for a long time because I saw it in his office on a trip back to Evanston several years later. But it said something like this, “Duck, you have meant so very much to me. For the past four years, you have been nothing short of the college version of my father, brother and best friend. You are more than an educator. You are my dear friend. Thanks.” It was short, simple and to the point.

I first met Scott in the summer of 1991. Actually, I probably met him some time before that but my memory is hazy. I do remember as a near-high school senior that summer that I was being taught by greatness. My first true memories of Scott come from that summer. From the get go we hit it off. I felt a special bond with Duck from the very beginning. I don’t know what it was. We both were from Texas? We both loved the Cowboys? We both believed that presence, style and ethos were so very important to winning debate at the highest levels? I don’t know. I just know that for several weeks that we got along well and I think he enjoyed coaching me as much as I enjoyed working for him.

Scott kept up with me through my senior year in high school. He would write long single spaced recruiting letters to me and my partner, Chris Cotropia. He’d follow us from tournament to tournament across the country, trying to convince us to go to Northwestern. He came and visited my parents and talked to them whenever he could about the virtues of Northwestern. He was persistent and meticulous in his approach to recruiting. Once I was admitted to Northwestern he personally worked with financial aid at the University to make it as easy as possible for us to afford the school.

Scott succeeded in his recruiting that year just like he succeeded at everything else he did. In 1992, Northwestern had a bumper crop of talented freshman joining the ranks of the Debate Society. Sinan Aral, Jody “Joe” Terry, Chris Cotropia, Brian Lai, Brian Fletcher, Mason Miller and myself were just some of the stellar debaters that ended up at NU. It was the beginning of a run of college debate dominance like no other. I don’t want to re-plow the same ground here though. Everyone knows of Scott’s debate excellence and his brilliant mind. He was simply the best debate coach ever. Between Duck’s brilliant mind, dedicated work ethic, and soul-charging inspirational speeches, success was a foregone conclusion. But ultimate success came because of Duck’s human and intimate interactions with his debaters. What I recall most from my time with Duck is the sincere satisfaction he received from the moments of humanity he would share with his debaters. Despite Scott’s personality quirks and odd interpersonal communication skills, from my perspective it was the human elements where Scott touched my life. I recall three significant moments that I want to share that demonstrate the values Scott taught me in the beginning of my adult life at Northwestern.

In the late summer of 1992, I was a newly graduated senior about to join Northwestern University as a freshman. The Debate Society has a two to three week camp before school actually begins called the Rogers House. During the Rogers House the debate team meets, greets, brainstorms and researches the upcoming year’s topic. I arrived at campus ready for the Rogers House in 1992 with my parents and my little brother, Jamieson. We had driven from Texas because we couldn’t afford the airfare and, frankly, I don’t think my mom could afford the “tarmac farewell” from DFW. But as my parents were preparing to depart for home the following day, Duck received a call. I will never forget seeing him sprinting across the campus grounds to get to my parents to tell them to call back home. My Dad’s mother had passed away. My parents and brother would have to leave immediately to go back to Texas for the funeral. My parents were great, as usual. They told me it was my choice: I could either stay or I could go home and fly back. I knew we couldn’t afford the airfare. They knew I would miss the first part of the Rogers House. I made a choice and decided to stay in Evanston. My parents left and I was so very sad. Besides being homesick, I had just lost my grandmother. Duck did not miss a beat. He immediately told me to come with him to get a diet coke. A drink he constantly referred to as “the nectar of the Gods.” We went and got that coke and spent the rest of the day together. Just he and I. He was genuinely concerned and caring for me. He reached out and comforted me at a moment when I really needed it. The next day he saw me, pulled me aside and told me he would pay for the airfare home. I couldn’t take his money and told him no. I so very much appreciated his time and his generous offer. Duck taught me so very much about compassion and caring on the first two days of my life on campus. It didn’t stop, obviously. But Duck’s sincere and deep, abiding care for his students was real. Duck’s commitment to compassion was singular.

Flash forward four years later. Before the first debate tournament of my senior year and at the conclusion of the Rogers House my senior year, Duck came up to me and pulled me into his office. Duck had yet again been on the recruiting trail and he had found a number of new, talented and fun students to carry the NU program for years. Well, that is an understatement actually. Duck had recruited Michael Gottlieb from Kansas and he was quickly learning how to share his talents with the debate world. In any event, Duck pulled me aside and we chatted for a long time about Mike and the other freshman and sophomores that were going to be the future. I recall clearly his words, “I don’t know what I did, but I must be doing something right. You took these guys under your wing like I took you under mine. It’s all about team, Sean, and you have nailed it this year. I am so proud of you.” Duck may not have known what he did, but he was right (as usual). He constantly preached on the value of teamwork. Success in any endeavor does not come with solitary effort. Scott knew this and despite the success that Jody and I shared the previous two years, he would constantly remind us that it was the team that made it possible. Scott would share our successes with the team and would constantly encourage us to do the same. We would ride back from the airport after winning the NDT as a champion squad in an armada of limos. It was a team victory. Scott would repeat that to everyone that would listen. Scott probably didn’t do one thing that taught me the value of teamwork. He lived it. He forced people to learn about the value of hard work and teamwork through osmosis. Just being near Scott caused people to learn what it meant to be on a team. Scott was an amazing leader because he understood the value of having a team to lead.

I kept up with Scott after I graduated in 1996, of course. He was such a good friend. But I recall in 2002 when my first daughter, Alex, was born, I called Scott to tell him the news. His words meant so very much to me. “Sean, I am so very proud of you and the man you’ve become. You’re gonna be a great dad.” For those of you that know Scott, you know that carrying on phone conversations with the man can be difficult at best. For all his virtues, being a simple conversationalist is not one. But on this occasion his pride was evident. His voice was beaming through the phone. I was so happy. I don’t know what value that teaches. Nothing in particular, probably. But it just meant so very much to me. People from all across the country have expressed the important and influential role Scott had in their lives. To me, the mark of influence in one’s life is how you act or react around that person. For those truly transcendent influences, you don’t want to disappoint them and you strive to make them proud. That was Scott for me. Like my parents, I never wanted to disappoint and I always wanted to share my accomplishments with him to make him proud. I know there are others that feel the same.

Scott was a great man. He was brilliant and he was caring. His depth of compassion and loyalty are unmatched in my experience. He was my friend. A dear, dear friend. Like I told him before my last debate: he was like a father, brother and best friend rolled into one.

Thanks for sharing your life with me, Scott. Thank you to his family for giving me the honor of sharing my thoughts with each of you."

I have tagged some people to the side because I have no way of knowing if I will be able to figure out how to post this to either CEDA website or the Facebook group. I'm going to try. But if one of you knows how to do that, please feel free.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 31, 2010, 08:52:51 AM
From Kevin Hamrick:

When I arrived in Evanston in the fall of 1991, Duck had been Director of the Hardy House for less than a year but he nonethless already had a plan to win to win the NDT - not just one time someday in the future, but EVERY YEAR. I'd say that overall it turned out to be a pretty good plan. Duck played to win and made apologies for it. He dared us all to try be the BEST. It was an honor.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 31, 2010, 08:53:59 AM
From Chris Martin:

is round-tripping Houston to Chicago and back today for the memorial service of a dear friend and former college debate coach. Is a great reminder that God made us relational so invest as much time as possible with your friends and family, life is fragile so live every day to make a difference in the lives of others, a...nd when it's 10 degrees outside take your coat AND gloves with you to the service. :)

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 31, 2010, 08:57:11 AM
From : Hajir Ardebili

My thoughts are with those in Evanston who are celebrating the life of Scott Deatherage today. ♥ I was going to add "remembering," but I know we all recognize that the Duck's love for his debaters and friends, and his contributions to debate, will be impossible to forget.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 31, 2010, 08:58:56 AM
From Josh Hoe:

Incredible eulogies, amazing turn-out, well-planned, and an A+ job doing an incredibly hard job helping us celebrate/remember a legend led by Chris Lundberg and LT. We all love you Duck!
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 31, 2010, 08:59:24 AM
From Marie Dzuris:

Although sad, it was a wonderful uplifting celebration of Scott's life. Thanks to all who participated in putting it together and those who spoke.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on January 31, 2010, 09:00:18 AM
From Steve Mancuso:

Just back to Ohio after Scott's memorial ceremony. Hat tip to Chris Lundberg who pulled off a tremendous service. The eulogies were memorable. Only one mention of Whitesnake, though, way below the Vegas over/under line of 6. I really enjoyed seeing so many of the NU debate alum. Although I wish someone would explain to... me the difference between "commitment" and "hard work" in the four traits of a winner. :-)
Title: In Recognition of Scott Deatherage - NDT/ADA/CEDA Tribute
Post by: stables on January 31, 2010, 04:23:51 PM
Many thanks to all of the individuals who contributed materials to this tribute.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on February 01, 2010, 01:30:20 PM
Lyn Robbins:  Link to his eulogy for Scott which was too long to post here in its entirety.

Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on February 01, 2010, 01:31:40 PM
From Luke Hill:

 Bittersweet but wonderful weekend. Thankful I got to say goodbye to Duck with so many great people. Thankful I got a Saints jersey from the best friends in the world. Thankful my great debaters subsidized the sweetest phone ever. And most of all thankful I get to wake up and work at the Hardy house every day. Missing Duck, but working on my assignment.
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on February 01, 2010, 01:34:31 PM
From LaTonya Starks:

What an amazing weekend -- epic, some might say. Thanks to everyone who came to Duck's memorial and to all those who sent well-wishes from afar. It was fantastic to see you all. Somewhere, Duck is smiling down on us, thankful that so many members of his family could come together. I love you all :-)
Title: Re: Scott Deatherage
Post by: SherryHall on February 01, 2010, 01:35:58 PM
From Jairus Grove:

I sang Whitesnake like I meant it without a shred of irony. There was a sense of loss but it was tempered by gratitude for the Duck. In the end old friends helped keep the ghosts in good spirits and it was a grand send off for a great man.