Head Debate Coach Adrienne Brovero received the Ross K. Smith National Coach of the Year Award from the National Debate Tournament on Friday Nov. 11.
Wake Forest gives the award annually to recognize the most distinguished and accomplished intercollegiate debate coach in America today.
This is the first time a UMW debate coach has won the National Coach of the Year award. Some of the previous recipients include coaches from Dartmouth College, Emory University, Wake Forest University, Harvard University and the University of California–Berkeley.
Brovero stated that receiving the award was a total surprise, and that she felt a little overwhelmed and emotional.
A press release by UMW debate director Tim O’Donnell stated, “There is no higher honor in the debate coaching profession, and this recognition by her peers affirms what we at UMW have long known – Adrienne Brovero is one of the best debate coaches in the country.”
Sophomore Patrick McCleary, who has been on the debate team for two years, said, “I’m very proud that Adrienne won the Coach of the Year Award, she is more than deserving.”
The award is named after Ross K. Smith, who was Brovero’s debate coach at Wake Forest when she attended. Jayne Craig Smith, the wife of Ross Smith, presented the award to Brovero.
Since UMW hired Brovero in 2006, the debate team has won several titles, including a third place finish at the National Debate Tournament in 2010.
Before Brovero began coaching at UMW, she held coaching positions at Wake Forest University, University of Michigan, Northwestern University and University of Richmond.
She has led her teams from Wake Forest University, University of Michigan and Northwestern University to finish in the top three seven times including four finishes as the first place team at the National Debate Tournament.
“I’m very proud of her for what she has accomplished,” stated sophomore Moo Nam. “I feel that she really enjoys and is good at what she does.”
Brovero completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Wake Forest. Focusing on communication, argumentation and politics, she said these subjects are “some of my biggest passions.”
As a student at Wake Forest, Brovero’s team placed in the top three at the National Debate Tournament both in 1994 and 1995.
“My original interest was accidental,” said Brovero. During her first week of high school, she joined the debate team because her friends wanted to. “After that, I was hooked,” she said.