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Monday, November 04, 2013

Donn W. Parson retirement

This weekend, I attended a number of retirement events in honor of Donn W. Parson, who was my college debate coach. Known as the Head Jayhawk, he worked at the University of Kansas for 48 years. During half of those years, he was Director of Forensics. For another twenty years, he directed the graduate program.

In this picture, the HJ can be seen with me, his spouse Andi, and my former debate partner, Mark Gidley:

My old friend Jim Reed sent the picture.

Incidentally, the Parson Wikipedia entry I linked above includes an outrageous claim:
Parson coached KU to National Debate Tournament (NDT) championship in 1970, 1976, and 1983 (although the legitimacy of this title is being increasingly questioned)
In 1983, Mark and I won the National Debate Tournament. We have the trophy, the gift watches, etc. The Dartmouth B team finished 8-0 in the preliminary rounds and was slated to debate the Dartmouth A team in the semi-finals. Ken Strange, the Dartmouth coach, elected to advance the senior A team and Mark and I beat them by winning 4 of 5 judges' ballots.

I don't know who is questioning the legitimacy of the decision, nor who made this entry into Wikipedia, but no team wins a national championship by providing another team a walkover in the semi-finals. That counts as a loss for the purposes of making the tournament bracket work.

That Dartmouth B team won the NDT in 1984.

Bonus photo:

University of Kansas NDT champions at the Parson retirement dinner (left-to-right): Bill Arnold (1954), Robin Rowland (1976), me, Dr. Parson, Brett Bricker (2009), and Mark Gidley (1983).

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