Debate » History


UNGER CUP WINNERS, 2009 (presented to the top policy debate team in the nation)

Debate has existed at Damien since the early 1960's. The program was granted a charter by the National Forensic League in 1964. In 1968, Damien won its first state debate championship. Since that time, Damien has maintained a level of competitive excellence virtually unmatched in the state of California.
Dozens of Damien debaters have gone on to have successful college debate careers. The most successful of these was undoubtedly Mark Fabiani, who won Top Speaker at the 1975 National Debate Tournament. More recently, there have been several Damien alums who have been noteworthy names in college debate: Paul Derby, Kevin Tessier, Bryan Yeazel, Shuman Sohrn, John Miller, Omri Ceren, and Andres Gannon, among others.
The program was blessed in the early years with talented coaching. The program was begun by Mr. Charles Stamps, who coached the team through the late 60's. The program was successful throughout the 60's and into the 70's, with strong administrative support, and leadership from coaches Robert Schwartzberg ('70-'73), Jim Caforio ('73-'74), Barbara Busse ('74-'79), Paul Hudson ('79-'80), and Bob Mocharnuk ('80-'82). Chuck Ballingall came to Damien in the fall of 1982. In 1998, Mr. Ballingall became the youngest coach ever inducted into the California High School Speech Association's Hall of Fame. In 2008, he became the 14th Californian to be inducted into the National Forensic League's Hall of Fame. This year he begins his 35th year as the Damien debate coach.