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Anthony McMullen

Anthony McMullen, associate professor of business law and director of forensics, is the 2020 recipient of the Bennett Strange Coach of the Year Award presented by the International Public Debate Association.

The award is given annually to a debate coach for his or her dedication to students, mentoring, debate education and pedagogy and service to the association and debate community.

“It is an honor to be voted the 2020 Bennett Strange Coach of the Year. Most of the credit for this belongs to the students of UCA Debate and Forensics, both past and present, who go above and beyond to represent our great university and who put up with my eccentricities on a regular basis,” McMullen said. “I hope that I can continue to live up to the spirit in which this honor is given.”

McMullen began working part time at UCA in 2007 and became a full-time faculty member in 2011. While working part time, he helped to restart the UCA Debate and Forensics team after it had been inactive for approximately 15 years. Apart from one semester in 2012, he has been coaching the team since 2007 and was officially named director of forensics in 2012.

In an email congratulating McMullen, Keith Milstead, president of IPDA, said, “I have had the honor and privilege to compete and coach alongside Anthony for many years, and this award is certainly a reflection of all of his hard work and commitment to his students and this organization as a whole. It is well deserved, and we could not be happier for him.”

Joe Ganakos of Lee College in Baytown, Texas, nominated McMullen for the award.

“Anthony’s commitment to the IPDA has been nothing short of exemplary. His annual tournament is one that runs like clockwork. He coaches top students in multiple divisions every year, he helps act as an ambassador of the level of talent in the IPDA each year during the James Madison Cup and is always a fair and steady voice in matters that impact our organization,” Ganakos said in his nomination. “He is an invaluable asset to his program and to the IDPA itself.I can think of no better recipient of the 2020 Bennett Strange Coach of the Year than Anthony McMullen.”

In the nomination, Ganakos emphasized McMullen’s service as managing director of the Southern Forensics Championship, leadership in hosting national tournaments and work on various committees.

McMullen earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas in 2001 and 2004, respectively.