The Georgia Debate Union is led by Dr. Edward Panetta. Our staff's diverse backgrounds and argumentative specialities each contribute to the team's success in unique ways.
Edward Panetta has been the director of the Georgia Debate Union for the last twenty-two years. During that period the University of Georgia has qualified forty teams for the National Debate Tournament (NDT). In the 1996-1997 season UGA became one of five debate programs in the sixty-two year history of the NDT to place two teams into the semi-finals (finalist and semi-finalist). Our 2003 team became the seventeenth team in the history of the NDT to compile a record of 8-0 in the preliminary rounds of the tournament. Our 2007 team was the 1st seed at the NDT and the winner of the Rex Copeland award. UGA debate has also been active in international debating during Panetta's tenure as director. Members of the Georgia Debate Union have been selected to represent the United States in Japan, Great Britain and Eastern Europe. Additionally, Dr. Panetta was selected to coach the U.S. team that visited Russia in 1997. In 2007, he was named the National Debate Coach of the Year. Dr. Panetta is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at UGA.
Hays became the head debate coach for the Georgia Debate Union in the fall of 2012. Having debated at UGA from 2001 to 2005 and having coached at UGA from 2007 to 2009, he returned to Athens after pursuing a PhD in Rhetorical Studies at the University of Illinois. He was a 4-time NDT qualifier, a two-time octofinalist at the NDT, and recipient of a top-5 first round bid to the NDT. He has also coached numerous teams to the elimination rounds of major college debate tournaments. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will is a Graduate Assistant Coach and Ph.D. Candidate in Speech Communication at UGA. He completed his bachelors in Philosophy at the University of Wyoming and his M.A. in Speech Communication at Georgia. He qualified to the NDT four times, participating in the elimination rounds as part of the first Wyoming team to do so in more than 30 years. He enjoys playing foosball in his copious spare time.
Rob is a Graduate Assistant Coach and M.A. Candidate in Speech Communication at UGA. He recently completed his B.A. in Political Science and English at Northwestern University, where he received a first round bid to and reached the quarterfinals of the National Debate Tournament. Before Northwestern, he debated for and attended Celebration High School in Orlando, Florida.
Mikaela graduated from Emory University, where she was an integral member of the NDT- and Copeland-winning debate team. She completed her M.A. in Communication at Wake Forest, coaching multiple first round qualifiers to the National Debate Tournament. She is currently a 2nd year student in the PhD program at UGA.
Logan is a Graduate Assistant Coach and Ph.D. Candidate in Speech Communication at UGA. Hailing originally from Covington, Georgia, he completed his bachelors in Political Science at Samford University and his M.A. in Communication at Wake Forest. He qualified to the NDT four times, reaching the octafinals as part of the first Samford team to do so in more than 25 years.