DEBATE-Kansas City will be inducting Martha Brackmann in to the DKC Coaches’ Hall of Fame May 9th at the annual Awards Night Celebration banquet sponsored by UMKC. Ms. Brackmann came out retirement to coach Lincoln College Preparatory Academy’s debate team on a shoe-string budget. She will be the second coach ever inducted into DKC’s Coaches’ Hall of Fame because without her efforts Lincoln’s historically successful debate program would have gone dormant this season.
Martha Brackmann took a nontraditional path in becoming a great debate coach. She entered the profession of teaching later in life and then became Lincoln Prep’s debate coach without an extensive debate background. She had to learn on the fly but quickly grew to love coaching the debate team. Her students took home countless trophies and Lincoln was a powerhouse in DKC’s league. Many of Ms. Brackmann’s students went on to debate in college, including LaToya Williams-Green who was named the Cross Examination Debate Association debater of the year just two months ago.
One of her former students, Darrell Hyche who debated at Missouri State, had this to say about Ms. Brackmann, “Mrs. Brackmann has been a continual source of inspiration for me. So many of my experiences, contacts and successes can be traced back to her. Even my career as a college debater, at her alma mater no less, came from her contributions. She is selfless, truly cares about the future of her students and is more than deserving of being inducted into the DKC Coaching Hall of Fame.”
After more than a decade of teaching and coaching Martha decided it was time retire in 2009, or so she thought. At the beginning of the 2011-12 school year Lincoln lost their projected debate coach due to illness. With no other obvious candidates stepping forward, Martha Brackmann decided to come out of retirement.
However, coaching this time around was different. No longer did the school have an ample debate budget and her stipend was stuck in paperwork for months. In addition to coaching without pay, she found herself digging in to her own pocket to get students to tournaments. She spent the last year doing everything in her power to provide amazing opportunities for the Lincoln Prep debaters. From long practices and even longer bus rides to tournaments to making sure that every kid at practices gets some of her special snack mix, Martha was a dedicated coach.
When asked about this special season Martha said, “It was a thrilling year, and despite zero budget at the year’s start, we found a way to compete at DKC, suburban and national tournaments. We even did something I’ve always wanted; we competed in five different kinds of debate.”
Martha’s selfless dedication to debate has placed her as second coach to join DKC’s Coaches’ Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame began in 2009 with the induction of Jane Rinehart; a legendary debate coach at Kansas City Central whose team was the story line of the award winning 2006 book entitled Cross X. When asked about the Hall of Fame induction Martha’s first thoughts went to Jane Rinehart (Martha and Jane pictured).
“I am honored to join Jane Rinehart, someone I admire, in the Hall of Fame. To be in the company of a debate icon is humbling. She was not only a great coach, but she created amazing opportunities. I mean she traveled her team to China and Azerbaijan, so I wanted to her follow lead in creating unique opportunities for deserving kids,” said Martha Brackmann.
Martha Brackmann is now herself a debate icon for others to admire and follow. No DKC coach has ever sacrificed so much in a season to make certain that kids have the opportunity to debate. When other coaches feel overburdened and underpaid they can use Martha Brackmann as a source of inspiration.