The Honors College at UT Dallas

Comet Debate Institute

Policy CX – Faculty

Scott Herndon

Director of Debate

Formerly a coach at Kansas State University, Scott Herndon has been at The University of Texas at Dallas since 2002. In that time, UT Dallas has qualified for the National Debate Tournament (NDT) seven years in a row, received invitations to the Kentucky and the Dartmouth Round Robin competitions, reached the quarterfinals of the NDT in 2010 and the elimination debates of Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) nationals for eight consecutive years. An experienced instructor and judge, he has been a debate camp instructor at the World Debate Institute, Baylor University, International Debate Education Association Conference and the University of Kansas. Herndon was recognized as the CEDA Southwest Region Critic of the Year in 2004 and 2009.

B.A., The University of Kansas
M.A., Kansas State University

Phillip Samuels

Assistant Director

Phillip has been involved in college debate for over ten years. He debated at Emporia State University where he cleared at most national tournaments, including the National Debate Tournament. As a coach Phil did his graduate work under Scott Harris at the University of Kansas where together they coached six first rounds in six years and an NDT champion. Phil now coaches and teaches at The University of Texas at Dallas. He has worked at numerous debate camps over the last decade including the Jayhawk Debate Institute, the Spartan Debate Institute at Michigan State, and Stanford University. Phil's lab students have gone on to receive multiple TOC bids, compete at every major national tournament, and have won the Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri State tournaments. For the last four years Phil has also been an assistant coach for the College Preparatory School (CPS), in Berkley California. As a coach at CPS Phil has coached teams to out rounds at every major national tournament including the TOC and a finalist at the 2012 NFL National Tournament. Finally Phil has worked with Urban Debate Leagues (UDL) all over the country including the Minnesota UDL, the KCUDL, and the NYUDL.

B.A., Emporia State University
M.A., The University of Kansas

Eric Robinson

Assistant Coach

The 2014-2015 debate season will mark Eric’s 10th year being involved with college debate. As a competitor, Robinson enjoyed success advancing to the elimination rounds at many national tournaments and winning most regional tournaments in District 3. He qualified for the NDT multiple times and the late elimination rounds of CEDA.

Eric has coached collegiate debate since 2010 when he began his coaching career at Wichita State University. He coached there for two years, helping qualify multiple teams to the NDT as well as advancing competitors to the Elite Eight in 2012. Following his tenure in Wichita, he became the Assistant Director of Debate for Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. There, he worked with a young squad, helping coach various debaters to their first qualifications to the NDT in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, he helped lead a team of freshman debaters to Trinity’s only Junior Varsity National Championship. Prior to coaching college debate, Eric worked with high school debaters in Kansas and helped them reach competitive success at the state and national levels.

Eric has worked at various debate institutes over the years including the Dallas Urban Debate Association Summer Camp and the North Texas “Mean Green” Workshop. He has taught at the Wichita State University workshop for the last seven years and previously served as Director of the camp.

B.A., Wichita State University
M.A., Wichita State University

Matthew Munday

Assistant Coach

Matt has been involved with college debate since 2008. He debated at Wichita State University where he experienced regional and national success, culminating in a quarterfinals appearance at the National Debate Tournament in 2012. Matt continued to coach at Wichita State as a graduate student. He has also worked with summer debate institutes at the University of Kansas and Wichita State University.

B.A., Wichita State University
M.A., Wichita State University

Lincoln Douglas – Faculty

Shanna Carlson

Debate Coach

Shanna has been involved in collegiate debate for nine years. She debated at Washburn University where she cleared at most national tournaments, including the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. In National Forensics Association (NFA) Lincoln-Douglas debate Shanna had many out-round appearances and speaker awards, including Top Speaker at the Top of the Rockies Debate Tournament in 2007. Shanna had a winning record at every NFA national tournament. As a coach Shanna works under Glenn Prince at Illinois State University, where in their first year of competing in Lincoln-Douglas debate all of their debaters qualified for the NFA national tournament and Pi Kappa Delta (PKD) national tournament. She coached a Double-Octo Finalist at NFA and a Quarterfinalist at PKD. Shanna taught at the Intensive Course in English Debate in March 2014, at Japan’s prestigious Kyushu University.

Illinois State University

Residence Director

Don Gonzalez

Mock Trial Director, Debate Coach

Don Gonzalez returns to the Comet Debate Institute for his second year as the Residence Director. Prior to working at the CDI, Don served seven (7) years as the Associate Director of Residence at the Mean Green Debate Workshops. Don is a teacher at the Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence where he has taught for 15 years and coached the debate team. His debaters have excelled on the local, state and the national circuits. He’s had students qualify to the TOC, NFL Nationals, the NDCA Championships and NAUDL Nationals. Don retired from active coaching last year, but he continues to support his school’s program primarily in fundraising.

Don is a parent of three children and his philosophy of supervision in the dorms is simple: treat the students with the same dignity and respect he would want for his own children. Don believes his primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the students while maintaining a nurturing environment that supports the learning process taking place in the labs.

M.Ed. University of North Texas
Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet School