Current Events

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 

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. 

Andrew is a Graduate Assistant Coach and M.A. Candidate in Communication Studies at the University of Georgia.  After completing a B.A. in International Affairs and a B.S.F.R. in Wildlife at UGA, he then went on to earn a M.A.T. in Science Education from UGA.  He is a long time member of the Georgia Debate Union both as a team member and assistant coach.

Steven Murray is entering his second decade of debate and his first year coaching at UGA.  His research interests include contemporary critical theory, race scholarship, and comic approaches to academic affairs.  As a coach he encourages debates to diversify their argumentative and academic interests and preferences breadth of knowledge. 

Clay Stewart is a Graduate Assistant Coach and M.A. Candidate in Communication Studies at the University of Georgia. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in French and Political Science, where, as a four-year member of the debate team, Clay qualified to the NDT his senior year. As a coach at the Georgia Debate Union, he hopes to bring a unique perspective to the team’s longstanding culture of competitive success. 

Shyam is a former bulldawg, who recently graduated with a double major in biology and political science. While a debater at UGA, he competed in elimination debates at every major tournament and has qualified to the National Debate Tournament three times. He is currently helping the team while preparing to attend law school next year. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, tennis, and poker.