KWU Faculty Profile: Gary Harmon

Written by on February 2, 2020

KWU Debate coach Gary Harmon might not at first glance seem like the coach of the most winning activity on the Wesleyan campus.  Rriginally from Anthony, Kansas, he was born and raised on a farm. That background included playing basketball and also breaking and training horses.

After high school Mr.Harmon was offered a Preferred Walk on opportunity to possibly get the chance to make the Kansas State Basketball team. He ended up not making the team and decided to transfer to Sterling college where he finished out the rest of his college basketball career and college as well.

But his freshman year he met some people that became his friends. They got him into Bull Riding.  He was a bull rider for about 4 years. He had some ups and downs with it of course with injuries. He got hurt his sophomore year and never was the same. But he was a bull rider for as long as he could. One of his favorite experiences where he would get an adrenaline rush like no ever. It would get you “high as a kite with strength you wouldn’t know you had” as he would say.

After he was done with college he became a teacher and worked at a high school in Wellington,Kansas. Besides being a teacher he also was a Football, Track, and a cross country coach as well.  I’d have to say Coach Harmon sure knew how to stay busy. He also became the schools debate coach as well. He was really forced to be it when he was at the high school level. As he was the debate coach he really put everything he had to be the best version of himself to help the kids become and learn in debate.

For example he took courses, read books and really just took it step by step on how to become a great debate coach. He was a high school coach for about 20 years. Mainly in Manhattan, Kansas. Then he moved on to teach and coach at Salina Central High school. One of his favorite moments that come to thought right away for him was when he won one of his 1st nationals at the highschool level. He eventually retired from coaching and became a speech teacher at Kansas State University.

Then Professor Marshall asked him to come be the debate coach at Kansas Wesleyan University. He certainly thought about it  for a while. But he ended up coming out of retirement for the first year at Kansas Wesleyan University, he was still working as a speech teacher at Kansas Sate University and the debate coach for Kansas Wesleyan University. He had to do that because he was waiting to be on a contract to where it would be better for him financially. Now he has won more than 20 Nationals in the debate with several of his teams at Kansas Wesleyan University. This man and his teams have so many trophies they are running out of room to put them. If the debate has a hall of fame Coach Harmon deserves to be a first ballot.

Paul Green | KWU Student Media

Just a few of the many trophies won by members of the KWU Debate and Forensics program over the years.

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