, The two made it to the semfnals
and each was named top debater
j their senior year.
I the debate season. "I suppose—short of ant Governor Steve Beshear ’66; Tim
the national tournament—it is the most Futrell ’70 and Howell Hobson ’50,
coveted invitation a team receives," both attornies in Cadiz, and Lexington
_ Patterson said. "At least, that’s what     insurance man _]oe Mainous ’51—to
other coaches tell me. It is a unique   Q   y name a few—were top debaters in their
tournament held in a unique setting- _.     V day.
L out in the country at Carnahan House.     i· The first UK team to win a number
* All the teams are good and for the most       V of national tournaments was Gill
part thejudging is good." ‘   `   Skillman ’77 of Kettering, Ohio, and
The round robin followed immediate- K \   Gerry Oberst ’77 of Owensboro. Over a
ly by the Henry Clay Debates was cre-.   period of two years, they won some
ated in the early ’70s when Patterson \\ /` eight or nine major national tourna-
first took over the team from Gifford   ments. In 1977, during his senior year,
Blyton. UK was host of a tournament  we Skillman was the top individual debater
prior to this but it did not draw the top A % Vi / and was in the semifinals twice. He won
teams. “I was batting the idea around L Y / most major honors that were to be giv-
with one of our debaters—_]im Flegle F en. He also was a top UK student—
’74 from Bardwell who’s now an attor- K I 1 winning the top award in economics
ney in Houston—and came up with the jOn€S_MGnCUSO and initiated into Phi Beta Kappa.
idea of hosting a national round robin While a student at UK and immedi-
immcdlatcly PYIOY {O thc YC UIQ-? YOUI"        ” ~§,t»»§"Y §’,; i? &K€ly fOllOWlI1g   gI`21CluatlO1'1 he was On
nament. The idea was to get the top   the staff of Northwestern University’s
teams here from the outset and then Mankins also was top individual speak- summer institute. He attracted a large
others would follow. The idea worked er at several tournaments and they both number of young debaters who wanted
V and the tournament continues," he were in the top ten at the national tour- to learn from him.
` said. nament in Spokane, Wash. “I never get into the business of say-
The round robin ends on a Thursday At various times during_ the season ing who our best debater has been, but
night and on Friday afternoon schools they held the top record in the nation— there is no question but what Skillman
_ from all over the country start arriving alternating with a team from Harvard would be among the top five," Patter-
for the prestigious Henry Clay Debates. early on and later with Claremont Col- son said. "He was an extremely dedi-
"We will have in any given year about lege in California. "A rather unusual cated person, very hard worker, high
90 percent of the top teams in the na- situation arose at one point during the energy level, very self-disciplined. He
tion here," Patterson said. year in which Mankin’s partner could was my assistant coach for a year fol-
At the end of the season, UK is host not go to Emory and the partner of the lowing his graduation and then went on
to a large national high school tourna- top debater at Harvard, john Massie, to Ann Arbor to work on a doctorate in
ment. Some 80 high school teams from could not go so the tournament director economics and now is on the faculty at
all parts of the country were in Lexing- permitted them to enter as a team," Brown University."
ton May 10-13 to participate in the last Patterson said. “They won first place." Patterson continued, "I meet people
major invitational tournament of the UK also was the only school this sea- all the time who say that he was the top
year. son to have two teams break into the debater of the decade and even some
Planning for this tournament includ- octafinals at national. UK’s second who say that he is the best debater they
ed talks with high school coaches to de- team-Paul Flowers, a sophomore from ever heard.’"
l .: cide the best time for a national tourna- Wadsworth, Ohio, and Eric Kupfer- Skillman`s debate partner, Gerry
· lg ment. "After March there were no berg, a sophomore from Potomac, Oberst, was, for Patterson, a fascinat-
· ` tournaments held for high school teams Md.—along with Papka and Mankins ing debater. "He came to our program
’   until their final rounds in _]une," Pat- placed in the octafinals. Flowers and with no experience. He started from
i I terson said. "Ours falls in between." Kupferberg also won a tournament at scratch. By his junior year, he was defi-
: ` The 1984-85 debate year was a good Miami ofOhio. nitely one of the top debaters in thc
l one for UK—one of the better years in Throughout the years, UK has pro- country—not an easy task by any
‘ terms of records. UK junior Ouita duced a number of top national debat- means," Patterson recalled. "To this
· Papka from Lexington and senior Mike ers. Dr. Donald Clapp ’63, former UK day, people say that no one does a first
- Mankins from Des Moines, Iowa, vice president for academic affairs from affirmance rebuttal as well as he."
placed first at the Harvard, Dartmouth Lexington; Dr. Deno Curris ’62, for- One personal characteristic which
· and West Georgia College tourna- mer president of Murray State Univer- made Oberst outstanding as a debater
- ments, and second at Vanderbilt and sity and now president at Northern was that he had ahabit of getting up ev-
f the University of Virginia tournaments. Iowa University; Kentucky’s Lieuten- ery morning and rewriting about three I
UK `ll