The Beginnings of the District Speech and Debate Team
Irvine Valley College has a long tradition in forensics competition. Students from IVC and Saddleback College competed as a district team for 25 years. Under the coaching of Craig Grossman and Carol Ann Mesner, the team won the Phi Rho Pi Community College National Championships in 1982. Bob Bornemann and Paul Crary joined the coaching staff and helped the team win hundreds of other individual awards. The team also had a great reputation for service to the community. Professor Grossman served as the President and Tournament Director of Phi Rho Pi. Due to his contributions to Phi Rho Pi, the award for the top debater at the National Tournament was named in Professor Grossman’s honor in 1992. Moreover, Professor Bornemann served as the League Executive Secretary for Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association.
The Rybold/Radden Years
As coaches retired, the district hired new coaches: Gary Rybold (1993) and Larry Radden (1994). These two directors of forensics, located on each campus offered every type of competitive event. Dozens of other coaches joined the team, either as adjuncts or volunteers. Edwin Tiongson joined the full-time coaching staff in 2002. The team also grew with additional staffing and funding and often competed with more than 50 students at a tournament. The team also was very successful during Rybold/Radden reign winning hundreds of sweepstakes awards including ten league championships, nine national championships, and placing in the top three at state championships nine times.
Single School Squads
In 2006, the district team divided into two school teams. IVC added to its full-time coaching staff by hiring Jules French (Throckmorton) in 2013. The IVC team has also had its share of success with six national championships and finishing in the top three at state championships six times. It is the only school in the country to take double gold sweepstakes at the Phi Rho Pi national championships for the last five years and the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Champion Sweepstakes for the last four years.
International Debate Activities
The team also has a strong reputation as the top community college in international debate. The team has hosted international teams from the UK, Ireland, Eastern Europe, and China 15 times. The team has also traveled to China on debate demonstrations, tournaments, and study abroad programs. Over 100 IVC students and coaches have been involved in these tours.
The strength of the team stems from the values practiced in their team motto:
Education Ethics Excellence
The team strives to make every experience a learning opportunity