We are sad to say goodbye to A.J., who is moving to England after four years of coaching Wisconsin Speech and Debate, and thank him for all he has done for it.
At the same time, we are excited to announce that in fall 2023, Austin Thoma will join Wisconsin Speech and Debate as our new coach. Austin has been a college speech and debate team coach for 9 years, with time at the University of Denver, the University of Wyoming, and Cornell University. After a high school forensics career which included performing in Duo, Extemp, and Poetry, and competitive collegiate career capped by a semifinal appearance at the US Universities Debating Championship, Austin pursued graduate degrees in both communication studies and dispute resolution. His research focuses on the rhetoric of national security, as well as argumentation and advocacy. Austin has also taught courses in public speaking, debate, and rhetoric at the college level for a decade.
Austin is thrilled to join the University of Wisconsin as Director of Speech and Debate and looking forward to working with talented and motivated students to build a successful and inclusive forensics program. He says: “Wisconsin has a tremendous legacy of competition, and I hope to set a trajectory worthy of that history. Whether you are a seasoned speaker, performer, debater or a curious novice, I invite you to join our team and explore the exciting world of speech and debate.”