Debate Coach Scott Odekirk

My mentor changed me forever
Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 8:23pm

When I first met Scott Odekirk four years ago in my high school debate class, I was unaware of how much an impact the man would make on my life. Immediately I looked up to him and he became a mentor to me and the rest of the class. He sculpted us into philosophers and progressives. Thinkers and writers. I am the person I am today because of him.

Despite being part of the debate team under Coach Odekirk for two years, I never got to know who he truly is. I saw glimpses, however, of his life when his wife Desaray would help coach us and also with the birth of his child.

After graduating from Copper Hills High School, I came to study at Utah State University Eastern. It was in my English class that I discovered that coach attended this college in the early 2000s, but also that many of the faculty knew him and taught him and his wife.

I wanted to know about these two alumni so I interviewed coach last week about their experiences during their time here. “I loved being at CEU (College of Eastern Utah),” coach told me.

“The out of the way aspect of the town and the school liberated me from my high school persona and allowed me to define in ways I would have never predicted. Being on the debate team at CEU was very prestigious at the time and I love competing and representing a school with such a rich debate history.”

It was on CEU’s debate team that coach would meet his future wife and eventually the two became incredibly close, both later attending Weber State University and married Aug. 17, 2007.

After finishing his undergrad degree at Idaho State University, he coached debate in the college circuit and ran for of Pocatello, Idaho, city council in 2011.

In 2013, he became the debate teacher for CHHS. He continues to coach debate there as well as teach English, international relations and philosophy.

The advice he gives to USUE students is, “Life isn’t a race. There are many roads to the top of the mountain. Ultimately you will be fine if you have empathy and live life by an intentional ethical code.”

Coach is an honorable man who continues to inspire and push students beyond their limits. He serves as a prime example of what a good mentor and teacher should aim to be. He shows a great deal of compassion to everyone he meets.

Thinking about the time I have known coach, all I can say is that I am lucky to have him as a mentor and as a friend.

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