Author Topic: Ken Strange  (Read 23655 times)

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #90 on: April 05, 2019, 09:42:33 PM »
Wendy Bozzolasco

Omg. My heart is broken. Ken was an amazing person.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #91 on: April 05, 2019, 09:43:26 PM »
Dwight Codr

I’ve been out of the debate world for almost 20 years now, but when I reflect on my time there, about 10-15 people always come to mind, and Ken is one of them. He shapes my memory of debate as simultaneously rigorous and genial. I’m grateful for this tribute, Les Phillips, and for the chance to share my fondness for him.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #92 on: April 05, 2019, 09:44:15 PM »
Matt Anderson

His legacy and his excellence, more than success or insight, was his character. He was a very good man, eager to invest in others. A giant, not for accomplishments that will be remembered generations hence, but for how he lived his days and for the lives he shaped, and the effects those lives will continue to have on others. We would all be fortunate to be as well remembered.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #93 on: April 05, 2019, 09:45:36 PM »
Anjali Vats


My FB wall is filled with immense love for Ken Strange. He impacted so many people. He wasn't my coach or my friend but goddamn, I learned so much from him. Hell, I met a person at this conference that knew and remembered him from back in 1992--my first conversation with a perfect stranger involved talking about this coach that influenced us both. Draw straws in academia and you'll find someone that will speak of Ken fondly. I've never heard anyone say an unkind word about that man, in 20 years. Tonight, it's clear from the memories that people from across the argument spectrum have posted that they loved him back. I hope we can find and support more people like him, for the sake of debate and the sanity of the world. RIP, Ken and thank you so, so much for all you taught us.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #94 on: April 05, 2019, 09:47:14 PM »
Mike Davis


One more story I love that lets you know how memorable Ken Strange was.

I was working the polls at the election a few years ago and I was talking to the guy next to me and let him know I was the debate coach at JMU.

He said he did not know much about debate, but that during college orientation he met a debater who’s presence stuck with him years later. He said he had all if these index cards laid out on the study room table and had this unforgettable booming voice. That was what he imagined a college debater was like even four decades later.

That first year debater’s name was Ken Strange.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #95 on: April 05, 2019, 09:51:04 PM »
Sonja Starr

I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of Ken Strange, a giant in the college debate world (and indeed, also a giant to generations of high school debaters who attended the summer institutes he ran for decades). Ken was my boss in my first job out of college, a job so great I couldn't quite give it up even after moving on to law school, and continued to travel with his team for the next few years. What a privilege it was to learn from him and to become his friend--like everyone else (whose Facebook reminiscences I have been devouring with appreciation), I am flooded with memories. My heart goes out to the many members of the large family of Dartmouth debaters, as well as all of you in Ken's broader debate family.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #96 on: April 06, 2019, 08:07:20 AM »
Steve Mancuso


For 30 years, Ken Strange was my mentor, colleague, friend and confidant. From advice about where to go to grad school, to how to write the college debate topic, Ken was generous and wise with his counsel.

I’ll add my voice to the chorus – Ken was beloved by his students, and cherished by the college debate community. Rightly so on both counts.

Many people have expressed Ken’s wonderful personal qualities. And I’m sure those are the attributes for which he’d want to be recognized.

But the small part of Ken Strange’s story I’d like to tell is about his profound positive impact on the activity of college debate. I can only offer my opinion for the years 1980-2010. But during that time, Ken was not only the single best debate coach in the country, he had the greatest influence on our practice.

It speaks volumes that what we came to take for granted as how to run a successful debate program can be traced to Ken’s Dartmouth of the 1980s. The emphasis on quality of evidence, on depth of research, on adapting and changing strategies from round to round – that all was driven, in large part, by the template Ken established.

Ken’s early Dartmouth teams - made up of fantastically talented and committed students - were successful because they featured brilliant coaching, ethical behavior, hard work and tremendous research.

The reason I’m emphasizing Ken’s early Dartmouth years is not to detract from his dedicated teams in the 1990s or later. But by that time, we’d all copied him, or at least were trying to. When we restarted the Michigan program in 1985, our model was Dartmouth. If he were here, Scott Deatherage would say the same thing about his Northwestern program. Same with Ross and Wake Forest. Anyone who subsequently tried to emulate Northwestern or Wake Forest was really copying Dartmouth.

It’s not that other schools had never had success on their own terms – obviously they did. But as debate moved through the 80s and 90s, with few exceptions, programs best able to emulate Ken’s Dartmouth program were most successful.

Hard-work, never-ending research, detailed strategies, ethical practices. Notice how those qualities line up with the valuable “portable skills” that debate has taught us.

Another thing that impressed me about the way Ken coached was how he always knew more than anyone else about what teams argued. He judged his share of debates, but when he wasn’t judging, Ken would watch other rounds. When I coached for him at Dartmouth (’82-’83) we had a squad of nearly full-time debaters. I was a full-time card-cutting assistant. It was an office of fanatics, who spent many, many hours every day working together. Yet Ken knew more than any of us about the topic and what other teams were doing. That was trailblazing for a head debate coach. But we directors later tried to emulate him.

If you still have a doubt about Ken’s profound impact on college debate, know that he was the first person who brought extra workers to the National Debate Tournament. It started with asking a few alums to come back on their own nickel to help, which they happily did. He also asked those alums, and others who couldn’t attend, to do assignments for the NDT, valuable help they took great pride in providing. Ken did this in 1981, 1982, 1983. We all ended up copying that, as best as we could.

The year after college I spent at Dartmouth coaching for Ken, aside from the sub-zero temperatures, was glorious. One thing I’ll never forget is going to the Dartmouth golf course with him. Ken loved golf and he treasured that course.

You may not know this about Ken, but he enjoyed making a wager now and again.

After we’d finish golfing, it was regular practice with him to sit in the clubhouse overlooking the 18th green, drink an adult beverage and bet on how many strokes it would take golfers to get their ball from the 18th fairway into the cup.

I haven’t seen Ken much in the past ten years, although we stayed in touch a bit. The heartbreaking news last night that he had died didn’t trigger a sense of loss like it would have if it had happened a while ago. But it did make me reflect on the positive and life-long impact he’d had on a huge chunk of my life and my gratitude for it.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2019, 05:08:06 PM by SherryHall »

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #97 on: April 06, 2019, 08:08:07 AM »
Gary Padgett

Eloquent and genuine. Ken was a man who had a consequential impact on debate and more importantly the lives of many people. The honor of his achievements will live on in the many people whose lives he touched.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #98 on: April 06, 2019, 08:08:43 AM »
Daryl Burch

It saddens my heart reading these words and at the same time I could not have said it better. I miss Ken Strange already. Glad I spent time with him through the years. #ripken

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #99 on: April 06, 2019, 08:09:27 AM »
Scott Segal

Terrific tribute Steve. So vivid to me. I have many fond memories of Ken. When I debated, he was the person I wanted to see judging and the person I wanted to chat with for advice, intelligence, and good humor. When I coached, well, exactly the same. And as an alum serving in various capacities, come to think of it, exactly the same. He was the best of us all.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #100 on: April 06, 2019, 08:10:18 AM »
John Q. Barrett

Thanks, Steve, and condolences to you and all. Ken was a great rival, teacher, judge, mind, friend, and fun person.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #101 on: April 06, 2019, 08:10:47 AM »
Alan Coverstone

All true and powerfully said. Ken’s impact on us all is impossible to overstate. And in it all, he was kind, helpful, and fun. Condolences to all who were affected by him.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #102 on: April 06, 2019, 08:11:25 AM »
Kevin Hamrick

Ken was Duck’s role model and Dartmouth was the benchmark by which we judged ourselves in the early 90s in Evanston. Hell, even Zarefsky got in on the act. I can remember Z, then Dean of the School of Communication, asking me in the fall of 1992 “how do you think our freshmen debaters compare to those, say, at Dartmouth?” Sean McCaffity Joseph Terry Christopher Cotropia Mason Miller

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #103 on: April 06, 2019, 08:12:41 AM »
Kathryn Kernoff


Missing Ken so much tonight. He was so much more than a debate coach - an idol, an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend. His long and successful debate career began with index cards and ended in the era of paperless. He continued actively cutting cards, critiquing speeches, and driving argument innovation the entire time. He inspired a team culture of hard work and loyalty and made the DFU not just a squad room but a family and a home. It's no accident that produced generations of close friendships and marriages, including my own. Miss you Ken, and I can still hear you telling me this post needs LABELS and HARD NUMBERING.

SherryHall

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Re: Ken Strange
« Reply #104 on: April 06, 2019, 08:13:17 AM »
David Glass


Each of the many years that I coached high school debate, Ken would reach out, and ask about my team. We'd discuss the various students and inevitably he'd get to this: "so, who are you sending me this summer?" The answer would always be, "how many can you take?" He'd laugh and we'd figure out which lab would be the best fit for each kid who wanted to go to Dartmouth. He wanted to hear the strengths and weaknesses of each student, so he could understand how best to serve their needs, and so he could give the prospective lab leaders a head's up. As for the students we coached in common who ended up being Dartmouth debaters, most of our conversations would center on those kids - how they were coming along. ...We hadn't seen each other in several years; when he was in Cambridge a few years ago, Ara and I took him to Salts before it closed. Twenty years peeled away very quickly. The thing about long time debate coaches is that the common experience is the students - they're the focus. Ken built families around them, both through his college teams, and through the summer institute. He was a great coach and person. Very sad to see him go; he definitely left a great legacy.