Directors & Assistant Directors

Gordon Stables, Director of Debate and Forensics

Gordon Stables, Director of Debate and Forensics

A Clinical Associate Professor, Gordon has directed the Debate Squad and been a member of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism faculty since 2002. Under Gordon’s direction the Trojan Debate Squad has developed into a program with three primary initiatives. Gordon oversees each of these efforts, directs the Trojan Debate scholarship program, and works with USC and Annenberg admissions to attract new students to USC.

Gordon is a leading voice in the intercollegiate debate community. He is actively involved in each of the major policy debate organizations, including currently serving as the western regional representative to the National Debate Tournament. He is also a past president of the Cross Examination Debate Association. He co-chaired the recent National Professional Debate Conference, which sought to develop an agenda for the next century of policy debate. He is also the co-editor of Contemporary Argumentation and Debate.

He currently serves as the chair of the Topic Selection Committee for the Cross-Examination Debate Association. This committee is responsible for submitting proposals and ultimately framing the season-long topic for all intercollegiate policy debate. He has written numerous topic papers, including the paper that was selected for the 2011-12 national collegiate topic, considering the role of democracy assistance as a response to the Arab Spring.

Gordon’s outstanding contributions have been recognized through numerous service awards. In 2011, Gordon became the youngest debate professional (and only the 3rd person ever) to be recognized with the highest career service awards from both national debate organizations.

His full biography is also available.

Brian McBride, Assistant Director of Debate

Brian McBride, Assistant Director of Debate

Brian is one of the most accomplished and influential debate coaches of the last decade. His success as a traditionally trained policy debater plus his involvement in the early evolution of critical argumentation in debate helped Brian be recognized as one of the most talented coaches.

Brian’s debate career began at Westbury High School in Houston, Texas for a squad that was lucky to have five members competing at one time. In Brian’s senior year in high school he amassed a win-loss record of 117 wins and 11 losses, winning twelve tournaments. Brian went on to debate for the University of Texas were he received a first round at large bid to the National Debate Tournament three years in a row, winning multiple tournaments and many top five speaker awards.

After graduating from the University of Texas he went on to coach Northwestern University to win three National Championships (NDT titles). Brian moved to the greater Los Angeles area and was the coach who brought an upstart group of debaters from the University of Redlands to the elite 8 (quarter-finals of the NDT) twice. Brian brought his unique expertise to the Trojans in 2006 and is the head argument coach for USC.

Assistant Coaches

JoelLemuel, Assistant Coach

Joel Lemuel, Assistant Coach

Joel received his BA in political science from Georgia State University in 2008. He graduated as the most successful debater in the history of Georgia State. As a senior, he qualified for the elimination rounds of CEDA Nationals and the National Debate Tournament. He was also recognized as the 11th overal national speaker at the CEDA Nationals Tournament.

After graduating he went on to receive an MA in Communications with an emphasis in rhetorical studies, also from Georgia State University. He began his PhD program at USC in 2010 and his current research interests include the intersection of health communication, social media, and genomics. He is currently conducting qualitative research assessing the usability and health literacy demands of direct-to-consumer websites promoting prescription drugs.

Paul Strait, Assistant Coach

Paul Strait, Assistant Coach

Paul joined the Trojan Debate Society in 2007 after earning an MA in Communication at George Mason University and BAs in Philosophy and Classics at the Catholic University of America. Before coming to USC, Paul coached at the George Washington University and at George Mason University, and his teams have won elimination rounds at every major national tournament. He is now a doctoral candidate in Communication, and his scholarship on contemporary debate theory has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals.