The National Speech & Debate Association announced that Clovis North English teacher and speech and debate coach Chad Hayden was one of 34 coaches to earn a Diamond Coach Award.
Hayden received his third Diamond Coach Award for his work with the Clovis North Speech and Debate Team. The National Speech & Debate Association’s Honor Society has been recognizing student and coach achievements in speech and debate since 1925.
“The diamond though, to be frank, it’s cool,” Hayden said. “The fact that you guys sent someone over here, is like awesome!”
According to the National Speech & Debate Association, coaches earn distinction in the national honorary through team participation, student achievement, public service, and leadership work. To earn a diamond award a coach must be a member of the National Speech & Debate Association for at least five years.
Coaches earn points for every kid that competes on the team, every debate tournament they win or lose, every speech that they give and the coaches get a tenth of every point the students earn. A coach who attains 1,500 points is awarded their first diamond award, their second diamond at 3,000 points, a third for 6,000 points and so on. Five years, however, have to pass between each diamond award.
“Let me just put this in perspective, the winningest coach in California who is actually second in the country, his name is Ron Underwood and he has 10 diamonds,” Hayden said. “So when I think about my three diamonds I’m proud of that, I worked hard for that, but then I put it into perspective with Ron and I’m like ‘Yeah he’s got 10.’”
Hayden has been coaching speech and debate for a total of 17 years. His first teaching and coaching job was at Hoover High School where he spent eight years as a Patriot. He was able to come over to Clovis North the second year it was open and got the opportunity to open the program.
“I did forensics all four years at Clovis High and our team was the state champions in 1990, which was pretty impressive because you have to compete with schools from the Bay Area and L.A.,” Hayden said. “Forensics was a huge part of my life, I loved it and it totally changed my whole direction in life. Even though I was a Clovis kid, I got the job at Hoover and that was a great experience and then I was able to come over here when the school opened and was a great opportunity because you know Clovis [Unified] does so many things right, it is a machine.”
Hayden and the 33 other coaches will be recognized at the world’s largest academic competition, the National Speech & Debate tournament in Birmingham, Alabama this June. More than 7,000 students, coaches, and parents from across the nation attend the tournament every year.
“I don’t do it for the money or the recognition, I do it because it gives kids a voice,” Hayden said. “When I did it in high school, it gave me a voice and I loved it but I never thought I’d be a coach but I’m happy for the opportunity because the coaches know it prepares kids for college more than anything else.”