Baylor Debate Team Embraces New Season with a New Director

October 11, 2022
Debate Coaches

Jeff Nagel, Ph.D. (left), has returned to his alma mater as The Glenn R. Capp Chair of Forensics and director of the University' premiere debate program following in the footsteps of Matthew Gerber, Ph.D. (right), who is returning to the classroom after 19 years in the role, second only to the legendary Glenn Capp himself.

Jeff Nagel, Ph.D., joins Baylor as the new Glenn R. Capp Chair of Forensics following the successful 19-year tenure of Matthew Gerber, Ph.D.

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WACO, Texas (Oct. 11, 2022) – Jeff Nagel, M.A. ’17, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at Baylor University, has returned to his alma mater as The Glenn R. Capp Chair of Forensics and director of the University’ premiere debate program, the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum. He follows in the footsteps of Matthew Gerber, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and Baylor debate coach, who is returning to the classroom after 19 years in the role, second only to the legendary Glenn Capp himself.

While completing his master’s degree at Baylor from 2015-2017, Nagel served under Gerber as an assistant debate coach. This new transition for the Baylor debate program celebrates the accomplishments of both faculty members and coaches who have a deep respect for one another.

“We are very excited to see the next chapter of debate unfold under Jeff’s leadership, and we know he will continue the long-established tradition of excellence in debate at Baylor,” Gerber said.

As a tenured associate professor, Gerber will continue teaching and his academic work in the department of communication. During his time as director, he led the debate team to numerous accolades, including:

  • Cumulative 70% win-loss record in intercollegiate debate competitions since he took over the program in 2003.
  • Debaters have reached the elimination rounds and won speaker awards at every major national intercollegiate debate tournament, including the prestigious National Debate Tournament (NDT) and the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Nationals.
  • Top-10 national finishes in 2011 and 2020.
  • 2017 Coach of the Year (awarded by the staff at Weber State University).
  • Led the team in the transition to online debate when the pandemic hit in 2020.
  • Coached the first all-female debate team in the history of Baylor’s program in March 2022 to qualify for the NDT.

“Baylor University has an extensive history of competitive debate success and consistently fields one of the top programs in the country,” Nagel said. “I was very excited to have the opportunity to come to Baylor in the fall of 2015 to work with this exceptional program while also continuing my education.”

The decision to return to Baylor as the director of debate was easy for Nagel, as he said, “Coming back was one of the easiest choices I have ever made.”

First-year master’s candidate in communication Roberto Fernandez said that Dr. Nagel has gone “above and beyond” in every capacity.

“On top of being a highly intelligent scholar, his ‘debate mind’ is extremely sharp, and I am thrilled to be working with him,” Fernandez said.

The Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum is the oldest co-curricular activity on Baylor’s campus, dating back to 1845, the year the University was founded by the Republic of Texas. Baylor has won three national championships in debate (1975, 1987, 1989), and appeared in nine Final Four competitions since the inception of the NDT in 1947. Baylor debaters also have won scores of regional titles and numerous local and individual awards.

Participating in intercollegiate debate provides students with skills and experiences that will make them successful in whatever career they choose. Alumni of the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum include Governors of the state of Texas, Senators and Representatives at the state and national levels, judges, prominent attorneys and academicians.

“Debate teaches invaluable skills that are applicable to a wide variety of vocations and fields of study. The best part of debate is that it teaches a process as much as a product,” Nagel said. “Debaters are primed to become leaders in their fields and prepared to take on the new challenges that society constantly seems to be facing.”

For more information, visit the Baylor debate website.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


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