Archive 1970-79


< Back to Historical Archives main page


Summary of 1970 through 1979


Full integration of individual events

Director of Forensics William L. Davis can likely be credited for creating in 1972-73 what the post-1988 team would recognize as “the modern team.” Competition in non-debate events expanded dramatically, particularly interpretation events, which, though not new, were just coming to prominence nationally. The drive for interpretation events at WKU appears to have come from young director Davis, who arrived only a few years after the formation of classes in oral interpretation of literature from the Speech and Theater Department. Along with the curriculum came reader’s theater, or interpretative theater. While groups like the Green River Readers did not engage in competitive activities, they do represent the explosive popularity of interpretive performance at this time. And “interpretation” purism came with it. The inclusion of similar (not the same) activities to forensic competition was opposed by WKU’s professor of Interpretation on the grounds that two different performances could not be fairly compared. Also worth noting, at least some who described interpretive theater insisted that the activity should not be confused with “acting.”1

Forensic Team Banquet awards

Coach Davis also began, in 1973, to provide an array of forensic team awards, issued at a team banquet at the end of the year. This tradition continues as of the writing of these archives. You will find that these awards expand in scope as new awards were created in the 1990s.

The Melayna Brown-Tinsley Collection

In July of 2016, director of forensics at WKU during the 1982-83 school year, Melayna Brown-Tinsley (now) submitted a collection of photographs covering much of the period between 1977 and 1983. Cited again in the 1979 subsection, the collection can be found at the following link: Melayna Brown-Tinsley Collection.



Annual Subsections: 1970 – 1979



Debate Team

1970 Debate Team varsity members
Varsity: (front) Steve C. Todd, John R. Lyne, Steve H. Loyal; (back) Walter Ward, Bill L. Durham, and Norman Simms;
(not pictured) Roy T. Gentry, Joe Gerard, Gene Gerrard, Bob D. Hatfield, David Porter, Darryl Smith, Linda Smith, and Mitchell I. Taub


1970 Debate Team novice members
Novice: (l-to-r) Ralph Partridge, Leonard R. Matheny, J. Regis O’Connor (coach) and S. Andy Shuping;
(not pictured) Julie Ann Campbell, Judy Clinton, Rick Hunt, Keith Hyland, and Bob Pace

1970 Zeta Phi Eta membership charterOn 1 June 1969 WKU joined Zeta Phi Eta, a speech arts fraternity, forming the Alpha Sigma chapter. The founding charter can be found below.

Western hosted the Kentucky Intercollegiate Forensic Conference on 20 March, but results are lacking.

Campus Oratory

1970 Oratorical winners: Ogden: Bruce Goodman; AAUW: Linda Mooney; Robinson: Robert Hatfield; SNEA: Ava Charlene Crowe
Ogden: Bruce Goodman; AAUW: Linda Mooney; Robinson: Robert D. Hatfield; SNEA: Ava Charlene Crowe




Debate Team

1971 Debate Team varsity members
Varsity: E. Norman Sims, Leonard R. Matheny, S. Andy Shuping, Ralph Patridge, Mitchell I. Taub

Bill Weathers Jr won the men’s division of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Oratorical Association tournament.2

[Link to 1971 Results Archive]
1971 Debate Team novices
Novice: Jim R. Isenberg (front), Ruth Hottell, Sheila Vincent; John Regis O’Connor (coach; back);
(not pictured) Elizabeth “Wibby” Anderson, Rick Shanklin, and Linda Smith


Campus Oratory

1971 Oratorical winners: Ogden: Bill Weathers Jr; AAUW: Carolyn Sikorski; Robinson: Pat Long; SNEA: Janet Hunt
Ogden: Bill Weathers Jr; AAUW: Carolyn Sikorski; Robinson: Pat Long; SNEA: Janet Hunt




Western Debate Associates

1972 Western Debate Associates

Leonard Mathney, Dr. Randall Capps (Dept Head Speech & Theater), Jim R. Isenberg;
(not pictured) Mike Nicholson (director of forensics), James Steven Eaton, Kim Fellwock, Ramona Howard, Michael Howell, David A. Lanphear, Courtlann Melton, Fred Sharfstein, Jo Ann Spinks, Karolle Travis

James Steven Eaton won the men’s division of the Kentucky Oratorical Association tournament, hosted at Western on 26 February.3 He went on to compete at the 99th Annual Interstate Oratorical Association contest on 4 to 5 May, hosted at Western, but the lack of a followup article suggests he did not advance to elimination rounds.

Additionally, the team awarded five partial scholarships that year.

[Link to 1972 Results Archive]

Campus Oratory

1972 Oratorical winners: AAUW: Karolle Travis; Ogden: Robert Hatfield; Robinson: Gerald Beckham; SNEA: Ronnah Childress
AAUW: Karolle Travis; Ogden: Robert D. Hatfield; Robinson: Gerald Beckham; SNEA: Ronnah Lynn Childress (now Bogert)




Forensic Union

1973 | Foreground: David Lanphear and Mike Howell

Roster: William L. Davis (director) Judy C. Bussell, Ronnah Childress (now Bogert), Stephanie Grimes (now Smith-Eakles) Mike W. Howell, Thomas R. Jackson, David A. Lanphear, Marc H. Levy, Courtlann Melton, Jill M. Metz, Doyle Pendleton, Terry M. Reber, Claire Russell, and Richard Stout

The team sent three first-year students to the 17th Annual Alleman Novice National Debate Tournament on 5-7 April, but results are currently lacking.5 In all, the team traveled ten thousand miles, competed against 114 colleges, and engaged in 189 debates.6

New director of forensics William L. Davis immediately began significant permanent changes to the team: the development of an annual banquet, banquet awards, and joining the National Forensic Association national tournament..

Although not related to competition, thus not fully explored in these archives, some faculty of Speech & Theater, such as James Pearse, did begin the annual Faculty Reading Hour in 1972-73, performing dramatic and prose interpretation.8 Although we do not record how long it continued, it lasted at least six years.

Banquet Awards

Debate: Jill M. Metz; Individual Events: Judy C. Bussell; Scholastic: Claire Russell; Service: Marc H. Levy

Campus Oratory

1973 Ogden Oratorical winner: John Bird

Ogden: John Bird; Robinson: Gregory McKinney4;
(Not pictured) SNEA: Judy Bussell




Forensic Union

1974 Forensics Union
(back) William L. Davis (coach), Byron Jeffries, Becky Hart, John Butchko, Terry M. Reber, Judy Bussell, Beverly Williams, Mike W. Howell, Renex Franklin, B. George Reagan, Dorothy Darby (grad asst IE), Bob C. Stallons, and Jim Menefee;
(front) Kerry Back, Ron W. Routson, Karolle Travis, Ronnah Lynn Childress (now Bogert), Jill M. Metz, Richard Stout, Jo Ann Ballance, Margaret A. Harrison, Mark H. Levy, Courtlann Melton, Kathleen Rutherford;
(not shown) John Bird, Carol Harrison, Richard Horne, Tom R. Jackson, Teresa Jenkins, David A. Lanphear, Greg McKinney, James Mignery (grad asst debate) Doyle Pendleton, and Brenda Whitson
(unsure) The name Greg Mekige may have been a clerical error of Greg McKinney, thus the name has been separated to this sentence until clarified.

Margaret A. Harrison placed fourth at the NFA National Tournament in early January 1974, at Plattsburgh State University.9 Gregory McKinney won the men’s division of the Kentucky Oratorical Association state tournament.10 Note: four students qualified for the new National Forensic Association tournament: Becky Hart, Kathleen Rutherford, Jo Ann Ballance, and Gregory McKinney. Overall, the team competed at 25 tournaments.

At the end of the school year, Department Head of Speech & Theater–and former DOF–Dr. Randall Capps was named executive secretary of the Interstate Oratorical Association.11

[Link to 1974 Results Archive]


Banquet Awards

Debate: Richard Stout; Individual Events: John Butchko; Scholastic: Thomas Ray Jackson; Service: Margaret Harrison

[Copy of the 1974 Forensics banquet program]
1974 Members of Delta Sigma Rho/Tau Kappa Alpha
DSR members: William Davis (coach), Mike W. Howell, Jill M. Metz, and Jim Mignerey


Extra photos (caption on mouse-over): click for full size

At the KY Colonel Classic: Jill Metz (speaking) and Mark Levy Recruitment poster for the 1973-74 WKU Forensics Union

Campus Oratory

1974 Oratorical winners: SNEA: Sally J. Watson; Robinson: Lance J. Wiist

Ogden: James L. Midkiff; AAUW: Ronnah Lynn Childress; Robinson: Lance J. Wiist; SNEA: Sally J. Watson




Forensic Union

1975 WKU Forensic Union(front) Teresa Jenkins, John Butchko, Audrey Post, Margaret A. Harrison, Carol Harrison; (middle) Mark K. Anderson, Terry M. Reber, Jerry W. Wilson, Sharon McKeand (grad asst), Kathleen Rutherford, Richard Stout; (back) Tom R. Jackson, Steve Tokar, Jeff J. Cashdollar, Ron W. Routson, Roger Ray, William Davis (director);
(not pictured) Abbie Bartley, Judith Harrison, Phil Joe, David A. Lanphear, Marc H. Levy, Jo Ann Rogers, Janet Shirley

In 1975, Margaret A. Harrison placed 6th in the nation in persuasive speaking at the National Forensic Association national tournament at Niagara University.12 Harrison also won the Kentucky Intercollegiate Oratorical Association tournament.

Described as “growing” in the previous two years, Bill Davis noted that team had received significantly more funding in the 1975 school year. The team competed at the IE Nationals tournament at Ohio University, the AFA District VI debate qualifier, and the DSR-TKA national tournament at UK.13

[Link to 1975 Results Archive]


Banquet Awards

Debate: David A. Lanphear; Individual Events: Margaret A. Harrison; Scholastic: Tom R. Jackson; Service: Tom R. Jackson


Campus Oratory

AAUW: Kathleen Rutherford; Ogden: Gregory McKinney; SNEA: Gwenda C. Watkins; Robinson: Tom Cole

Extra photos (hover for caption, click to enlarge)

Jeff J. Cashdollar during a 1975 debate (1975) Jeff J. Cashdollar and Tom Jackson (1975) Tom Jackson (1975) Bill Davis, director




Forensic Union

Known roster: Larry M. Caillouet (director), Mark K. Anderson, Kerry Back, Cheryl Brown, John Butchko, Jeff J. Cashdollar, Mike Coleman, Kenneth B. Cooke, Dawn Daniels, Tina Fletcher, Bobby Gray, Sandy K. Gregory, Carmen Guinn, Keith Hood, Tom R. Jackson, Teresa Jenkins, Phil Joe, Mary Helen McClean, Greg McGaughey, Billy Martin, Terry M. Reber, Jackie Richardson, Jo Ann Rogers, Reggie Scott, Richard Stout, Jim R. Thomas, and Jerry W. Wilson


Sandy K. Gregory became the national champion in persuasive speaking at the Delta-Sigma Rho/Tau Kappa Alpha national tournament, hosted at the University of Tennessee.14 on 12 April, Sandy had also placed second in persuasive at the KIOA, qualifying to compete at the Interstate Oratorical. Research continues to answer the IOA results.

Travel to distant tournaments was dropped at the start of the year and in their place new director Caillouet opted to host public forums in which team members would debate for an audience.15 The reason for cutting back on travel is presumed to be budgetary; the football team had to make similar cost-cutting decisions.16 Also worth noting is an University of Illinois mock trial competition, at which Western competed on 14-15 November 1975.17

[Link to 1976 Results Archive]


Banquet Awards

Debate: Tom R. Jackson; Individual Events: Terry M. Reber and Sandy K. Gregory; Scholastic: Tom R. Jackson; Service: John Butchko


Campus Oratory

AAUW: Teresa Jenkins; Ogden: Sandy K. Gregory; SNEA: Carmen Guinn; Robinson: Billy Martin


Green River Readers

Begun a few years earlier and directed by Dr. Jim Pearse, the Green River Readers engaged in the interpretation of literature, only without competition. They received instead critiques. At the 44th annual convention of the Southern Speech-Communication Association, which coach Bill Davis attended, the GRR performed.18 The GRR and Forensics also shared a few members. The similarity of their activity merits consideration.

Left panel: (front) Sally Watson, Carol Harrison, Rebecca Parrott, Kim Davidson, Joyce Lewis, Judith Harrison; (back) Melvin Childers, John Korineck, Judy Bartlett, Antionette Wearren
Right panel: Toni Wearren performing poetry

Extra photos (hover for caption, click to enlarge)

1976 poster for debate forum



1976 Green River Readers




Forensic Union

1977 Forensics Union

(front) Debra Ann Kiddy, Janet Burks, Kenneth B. Cooke, William J. Cortus, James R. Thomas, Teresa Jenkins (now Fowler), P. Smith; (middle) Reggie Scott, Marva Jean Abram, R. Butler, Bruce W. Bohanon, Larry M. Caillouet (director); (back) Mary Helen McClean, Doug Davis, Billy Martin, Gary Wayne Gabbart;
(not pictured) Austin B. Daniel and Carmen Guinn

Banquet Awards

Debate: Austin B. Daniel and James Russell Thomas; Individual Events: Carmen Guinn; Service: Teresa Jenkins

Extra photos (hover for caption, click to enlarge)

1977 poster for exhibition debate with Murray State U 1977 poster for debate forum 1977 winner of the Ogden Oratorical Women's Division, Doreen Stapleton

Campus Oratory

Ogden: William Genet; Ogden Women’s: Doreen Stapleton; AAUW: Gwenda C. Watkins; Robinson: (not awarded)




Forensic Union

1978 Forensics Union

(front) Larry M. Caillouet (director), Doreen Stapleton, Melayna A. Brown (now Tinsley), Katherine Littlejohn;
(back) Ken Ladd, Terry W. Barnes, Doug Davis, Richard E. Paine (grad asst), and Kenneth B. Cooke;
(not pictured) Archie Beck, Tuwanda Coleman (now Shaw), Butch Delaney (grad asst), M. Thaxter Dickey, Cassandra Easley, Terri A. Evans, Mike Henning, Jim Keffer, Rose Anne Noe (now Knight), Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier), Holly Watts, and Alice Wicks

Graduate Assistant Richard Paine became director of forensics at North Central College in 1983, establishing a prolific national program of his own.


Banquet Awards

Debate: Terry Wayne Barnes; Individual Events: M. Thaxter Dickey; Service: Kenneth Brian Cooke


Campus Oratory

Ogden: M. Thaxter Dickey; Robinson: Dennis Wayne Payne


Extra photos (hover for caption, click to enlarge)

1978 poster for debate forum Fall 1977, Cassandra Easley and Rose Anne Noe (now Knight) in van to ISU; our two finalists' on Richard Paine's first IE trip for WKU; Cassandra 2nd in folktales, Rose Anne 4th in prose Fall 1977, Ken Cooke and Ken Ladd in debate practice room/Butch & Richard's office, FAC 111 31 October 1977, Melayna Brown (now Tinsley) and Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier) in Detroit at April 1978, Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier) and Melayna Brown (now Tinsley) at debate practice; OVC semifinalist in debate, 3rd debate team Montevallo (Melayna 1st spkr, Roxanne 3rd spkr) April 1978, Rose Anne Noe (now Knight) and Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier) (l-r) April 1979, Larry Caillouet, Mark ___, and Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier) Spring 1978, (seated l-r) Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier), Holly Watts, Ken Ladd, and Melayna Brown (not Tinsley); (standing l-r) Larry Caillouet, Terry Barnes, Rose Anne Noe (now Knight), Ken Cooke, Archie Beck, Doug Davis, Alice Wicks, and Richard Paine April 1978, Duo interpretation team of Doug Davis and Rose Anne Noe (now Knight) April 1978, Terry Barnes and Roxanne Seiler (nor Cordonier) cross-ex in VP election 1977-78, Butch Delaney, Grad assist




Forensic Union

Part of the 1978-79 team: (front l-r) Melayna Brown (now Tinsley) and Tuwanda Coleman (now Shaw); (standing l-r) Joseph Cardot (grad asst), Terry Barnes, Kathy (office sec.), Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier), Scott Miller, Archie Beck, Steve Johnson, Janet Hill, Orin L. Harwood, Carla Patterson (now Reagan) and Richard E. Paine Roster: Larry M. Caillouet (director), Terry W. Barnes, Archie Beck, Melayna A. Brown (now Tinsley), Joseph Cardot (grad asst), Tuwanda Coleman (now Shaw), Kenneth B. Cooke, Terri Ann Evans, Orin L. Harwood, Ken Ladd, Dale Lyton, Scott Miller, Rose Anne Noe (now Knight), Richard E. Paine (grad asst), Carla Patterson (now Reagan), Vance Riley, Deniece Rogers, Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier), Brent Edward Shockley, and Holly Watts.

The team competed at 15 tournaments, including the DSR-TKA National Tournament & Convention (@ Emory).


Banquet Awards

Debate: Melayna Ann Brown; Individual Events: Tuwanda Coleman; Service: Tuwanda Coleman


Campus Oratory

Ogden: Brent Edward Shockley; AAUW: Terri Ann Evans; Robinson: Lonnie Lee Perkins; SNEA: Janet R. Hill


Extra photos (hover for caption, click to enlarge)

We’ve so many 1978-79 photos from Melayna Brown-Tinsley that only select photos are linked below. The full collection can be accessed in the separate Melayna Brown-Tinsley Collection page.

November 1978, OVC @ Austin Peay, home of the dreaded Fall 1978, Joseph Cardot (debate grad asst in 1978-79) @ MTSU debate tournament November 1978, OVC @ Austin Peay: Melayna Brown (now Tinsley), Ken Ladd, and Holly Watts November 1978, OVC @ Austin Peay: (front l-r) Terry Barnes, Melayna Brown (now Tinsley) and Ann Zoeller; (back l-r) Holly Watts and Brent Shockley November 1978, OVC @ Austin Peay: (front l-r) Larry Caillouet and Richard Paine; (back l-r) Joe Cardot (grad asst) and Melayna Brown (now Tinsley) Spring 1979, Ken Ladd, Melayna Brown (now Tinsley), Richard Paine, Roxanne Seiler (now Cordonier) and Terry Barnes @ Auburn, Alabama 4 March 1979, Tuwanda Coleman (now Shaw) and 3rd place Sweeps trophy Morehouse-Spelman Spring 1979, Vance Riley and Scott Miller at Morehouse-Spelman Spring 1979, Joe Cardot (grad asst), Tuwanda Coleman (now Shaw) and Janet Hill in Morehouse-Spelman prep room May 1979, in front of Lake Geneva, WI on way to Whitewater for NFA national tournament: (l-r) Vance Riley, Carla Patterson (now Reagan), Tuwanda Coleman (now Shaw), Larry Caillouet, Archie Beck and Scott Miller




1. “…if a slap is used in the action, only a modified gesture is used to suggest the entire action…Contrary to popular belief, this is not acting.” WKU Student Affairs, “UA12/2/1 College Heights Herald, Vol. 53, No. 34” (1974). WKU Archives Records. Paper 3515. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/3515

2. Western Kentucky University, “UA1B1 Awards Day Banquet” (1971). WKU Archives Records. Paper 3105. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/3105

3. Western Kentucky University, “UA1B Awards Banquet” (1972). WKU Archives Records. Paper 3106. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/3106

4. UA1C3.1.58. WKU Archives. WKU Library Special Collections.

5. “WKU’s forensic union competing in tournament.” Park City Daily News, April 5, 1973.

6. “Local Student Honored by WKU’s Forensic Union.” News from Western. 30 April 1973.

8. WKU Student Affairs, “UA12/2/1 College Heights Herald, Vol. 54, No. 9” (1978), page 10. WKU Archives Records. Paper 3400. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/3400

9. WKU Forensic Union, “UA68/3/2 Forensics at WKU” (1974). Student Organizations. Paper 46. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/stu_org/46; Western Kentucky University, “UA1B1 Awards Banquet” (1974). WKU Archives Records. Paper 3122. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/3122; An April 1974 university press release named the tournament “the National Oratory Contest,” while other sources labeled it “IE Nationals.” Such generic terms suggest these are descriptors rather than formal organization names. The NFA National tournament was hosted in Plattsburg the same year, leading the author to believe these are one in the same.

10. A 27 February 1974 university press release labels the tournament the “87th annual Kentucky College and University Speech Contest.”

11. “Former Cumberland County Resident Named Executive Secretary of Speech Association.” News from Western. 20 May 1974.

12. “National Tournament Results.” National Forensic Association. Last Accessed 25 Oct 2015. URL: http://www.nationalforensics.org/national-tournament-results#1975; Western Kentucky University, “UA1B1 Awards Banquet” (1975). WKU Archives Records. Paper 3121. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_ua_records/3121; Bond, Beverly. “Debaters return with trophies and state champion.” College Heights Herald, Vol 50. No. 42. 4 March 1975.

13. Bond, Beverly. “Forensics, speech competition slated to begin this weekend.” College Heights Herald Vol 50, No. 30, 21 January 1975.

14. Wildman, Judy. “Debate, forensics teams receive tourney honors.” College Heights Herald, Vol 51, No. 55. 16 April 1976.

15. Shirley, Janet. “Forensic program adds forums to year’s plans.” College Heights Herald, Vol 51, No. 4. September 9, 1975.

16. Collins, Don. “Annual contest between Hilltoppers, Cardinals is unlikely.” College Heights Herald, Vol 51, No. 5. September 12, 1975.

17. “Debaters to participate in mock trial.” College Heights Herald, Vol 51. No. 23. November 14, 1975.

18. “WKU Takes Part in Speech-Communication Association Confab.” News from Western 9 April 1974.


< Back to Historical Archives main page