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UK Debate Staff


David Arnett

Director of Debate

Dave is the Director of Debate at the University of Kentucky. He coached the 2019 national champions and the runners up on two separate occasions (2004, 2005). Dave has coached 14 teams to a top five national ranking. He was selected the Ross Smith National Coach of the Year in 2009 and voted runner-up for Coach of the 2000s. He was voted the 2015 American Debate Association coach of the year.  He is the Director of five national college and high school tournaments including the Tournament of Champions which collectively bring over 3000 participants annually to the UK campus. Dave has spearheaded UK Debate’s international outreach effort which has included projects in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.


Kathy Pickett

Office Manager

Kathy comes to the team with a varied background rich in people skills.  With 30+ years experience, she is a hardworking, motivated, and enthusiastic Office Manager with a proven track record of success. She always strives to achieve the highest standard possible, at any given task and in any situation. She is beyond thrilled to join the UK debate staff and is looking forward to many successful years for the students!


Devane Murphy

Head Debate Coach

In 2017, he and his partner were the second team in American Collegiate Debate history to win both the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and the Cross Examination National Debate Association National Championship (CEDA) in the same season. Devane also won the Ross K. Smith NDT Top Speaker Award in 2017.  Devane has coached on the collegiate and high school level of policy debate and has coached multiple qualifiers to the Tournament of Champions, CEDA National Championships, and the NDT. He has coached the winners of the Mukai Classic at Weber State, JV/Novice National Championships, the United States Military Academy West Point Invitational, Kathryn Klassic at California State University-Fullerton, and the NDT. He has previously coached at Rutgers University-Newark and Dartmouth College.

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Linda Barker

Budget Office Liason

Linda began working in the UK Debate Office on September 25, 1989, just in time for her first Kentucky Thoroughbred Round Robin and Henry Clay Debate Tournaments. J. W. Patterson was the Director of Debate at that time. She has enjoyed becoming friends with the UK debaters through the years and still stays with touch with many of them.


Katie Humphries

PF Debate Coach

Katie Humphries is the PF debate coach at the University of Kentucky, as well as the Associate Director of the Bluegrass Debate Coalition and Outreach Coordinator for the Collegiate Public Forum Debate League. Katie competed for the University of Akron, where they received their B.S. in Political Science and Criminal Justice. Throughout their career, they have coached students at every level of debate - local, state, and national in half a dozen debate events. Passionate about expanding access to debate, in 2019 Katie founded TD provide free learning resources and has since helped thousands of students.


Brian Manuel

Tournament Administration

Brian is the Director of Debate at Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School in New York and Director of Policy Debate at Stanford University, in addition to serving as a consultant for the National Speech & Debate Association. Widely recognized for his unrivaled talent in revitalizing traditional programs, Brian was named the 2008 Michael Bacon Coach of the Year and 2016 Val A. Browning Director of the Year. He has been coaching for nearly 20 years and was recently elected to the Executive Board of the National Debate Coaches Association.

UK Student Debaters

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Sophia Del Pra

Class of 2024

Hometown: Wooster, Ohio

Major: Political Science


Harry Sanjeevan

Class of 2026

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Major: Biology


Eriel Burns

Class of 2024

Hometown: Clarksville, Tennessee

Major: Political Science and Business

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Lauren McBlain

Class of 2024

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Major: Political Science

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Ariel Gabay

Class of 2026

Hometown: Skokie, Illinois

Major: International Studies

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Marcus Williams

Class of 2022

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Major: Psychology


Holly Netzley

Class of 2026

Hometown: Marshall, Minnesota

Major: Political Science

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David Griffith

Class of 2024

Hometown: River Forest, Illinois

Major: Political Science

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Jordan Di

Class of 2024

Hometown: Johns Creek, Georgia

Major: Political Science

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Dash Weinhardt

Class of 2024

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

Major: Political Science

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Caroline Koontz

Class of 2024

Hometown: Pinehurst, North Carolina

Major: Environmental and Sustainability Studies

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Austin Kiihnil

Class of 2025

Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana

Major: Political Science

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Anna Stockstill

Class of 2025

Hometown: Milton, Georgia

Major: Political Science

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Jared Adam

Class of 2025

Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia

Major: Finance


Chase Stevens

Class of 2025

Hometown: Madison, Connecticut

Major: Political Science and Pre-Law

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