Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tony Martinet Resigns: South Dakota Debate Loses

Josh Verges gives an objective take on Tony Martinet's decision to leave Lincoln High School and return to Colorado. I'm not a reporter, so I don't have have to be objective.

Tony coached Sioux Falls Lincoln "debate team powerhouse" with skill and passion that few can match.  He replaced Kim Maass, a South Dakota forensics legend, and elegantly dealt with the baggage, both positive and negative, that comes with that sort of situation.  Because he developed great competitors, Tony made every other debater and extemper in South Dakota better. Coaching against Tony frequently made me feel as if the only things I had to offer were the nostalgia of a faded Mr. Rogers sweater and a good head of hair.

Verges mentions that Tony testified against HB 1234.  I don't know what role, if any, the legislation or South Dakota's political climate played in Tony's decision.  I do know that Tony is young, enthusiastic, talented, and intelligent; he has the qualities every teacher needs, and South Dakota is worse off because he's leaving.

3 comments:

ewaldmichael said...

Coming from someone who was an assistant coach on one of those "powerhouse" debate teams, what's more sad is the lack of recognition Matt Kenyon has received for coaching the SFL debate through 2008-2012. He was the 'head' varsity policy debate coach who took over the main responsibilities of Ms. Maass and developed the game plan and team culture that produced the competitors who would go on to win back-to-back NCFL championships and become the first ever team in SD's storied forensic history to qualify to the Tournament of Champions.

Matt and Tony worked extremely well as a team and both deserve at least equal recognition.

As for Tony leaving SD for CO --there are a lot of reasons to support SD education -- turning someone into a martyr should not be one of them.

Michael Ewald
Director of Debate -- University of Chicago
Former "SFL" assistant 2008-2011

ewaldmichael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LK said...

Mike,

Thanks for stopping by.

Your comment does reflect the need for all of us to remember that success frequently depends on more than one person. Thanks for the reminder.

When I wrote this post in May, I had no idea what anyone's future would be.

As far as a being making Tony a martyr, I don't think that happened. I clearly said that I don't know what caused him to leave. I have a weird ambivalence about young people in South Dakota. I'm glad they're here and wish they'd stay. At the same time, I want them to run for the border. I know most will make more elsewhere. Also, it's the only way to get some of the bad policies to change.