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Photos from the 1969 NDT


harvard 1969

This photo, taken at the 1969 National Debate Tournament is of Rich Lewis (left), Coach Larry Tribe (center), and Joel Perwin (right) from Harvard. Coach Larry Tribe, himself a Harvard national debate champion, from 1961, went on to become a famous constitutional law professor and supreme court advocate: arguing 34 cases before the Court, including Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 438 (2001).



This photo, taken at the 1969 National Debate Tournament, is of Coach Bill English, Michael Miller, his partner David Seikel, and assistant coach Lee Ware from the University of Houston. At the time of this tournament, Miller and Seikel were the favorites, having already won 9 tournaments earlier in the season. The Lewis & Perwin team from Harvard, by contrast, had only won 2 tournaments that year.


In this photograph, taken at the 1969 National Debate Tournament, a rival team mocks the University of Houston. The debater in the center holds up a newspaper article from the Houston Chronicle in which Bill English, the Houston coach, is quoted as saying "We predict victory." The coach at the left of the photo (posing as Mike Miller) holds up a board repeating the quote.

At the time, Houston's domination of the circuit and the subsequent "victory" comment caused a lot of resentment in the debate community for what was perceived as Houston's arrogance. More than a few squads and their coaches were looking to take Houston down a peg. The real David Seikel, from Houston later commented that the environment for a Houston win at the 1969 NDT, considering the "victory" remark, was not ideal. But even without the newspaper quote Seikel was concerned that they had just "won too much" that season already.


David Seikel and Mike Miller from the University of Houston luxuriating in debate trophies.


David Seikel from Houston (right) wins the top speaker award at the 1969 National Debate Tournament. Joel Perwin, from Harvard (left), takes second.


More trophies for the Miller and Seikel team from Houston.