Throughout the past 43 years, William Swafford has coached various debate and forensics teams, and in turn for all of his hard work has been rewarded with the title Speech Coach of the Year. He was given this prestigious recognition by the 2012 Georgia Forensics Coaches’ Association at the 2012 GFCA Speech and Debate State Tournament Awards Assembly in Atlanta, Ga.over the weekend of March 10.
“Mr. Swafford is probably the nicest coach I’ve ever had,” sophomore Stallian Cagle said. “He groomed me to become a winner and made me the debater I am today. He is an excellent coach and his award was well deserved.”
Swafford is not the first from Lee County to win this privilege, nor is this the first time he has won a title such as this one. He has won titles for his performance as a coach before, such as being nationally recognized as a Diamond Coach at the Birmingham NFL National Tournament in 2009.
Swafford has been coaching the debate team in Lee County since 2003, succeeding his coaching in Dougherty County, Ga., Jefferson County, Co. and other counties throughout the years. He has taken his teams across the southern United States from Florida to Texas. Of the past eight years, Swafford has taken his team to national competitions for seven years.
Under Swafford’s supervision the debate team has earned several national qualifiers, a nationally ranked (top 20) extemporaneous speaker, and claimed countless regional and state awards.
“He has been a very dedicated and tireless teacher, coach, leader, supporter,” Principal Kevin Dowling said, “and even an extra parent at times for our young people.”
Swafford is humbled by the award that was decided by his peers at the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association (GFCA), even calling the 2011-2012 school year his “pinnacle year.”
“I’ve gotten other awards, but nothing that is this much of an honor,” Swafford said.
Nominated by a body of peers, GFCA announced the winner based on who obtained the most votes. Swafford has lead the speech and debate to victory since beginning in 2005 and hopes to continue to do so in the future.
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