Former forensics student returns as director

Ganer Newman, IV, director of forensics, always wanted to help people prepare for events. He found his niche when he was a member of the forensics speech and debate team during his time as a student at WKU. Alyssa Pointer/HERALD

Erian Bradley

WKU’s new forensics director is no stranger to the program. He’s had a long-term investment in forensics. 

This year, Ganer Newman, IV became the director, but he has previously coached forensics students and participated himself. Now, he has returned to continue his impact in forensics, which involves speech and debate.

“Performing in the activity at this university completely changed the course in the direction of my life…so the feeling of being back here is a pretty extraordinary feeling,” Newman said.

He started with forensics as a student in high school. His parents were reluctant to support him at first, but then they understood that the activity helped him mature.

“Once they saw me benefitting, growing and becoming a stronger person because of the skills the activity gave me, they were very supportive from that point on,” Newman said.

After high school, Newman went to WKU in 2007, where he continued his forensics career. He went on to become a graduate assistant coach in 2010 and then a full-time coach in 2012. 

Last year, Newman served as assistant director of Individual Events at  Illinois State University. Individual Events is a form of public speaking. Newman said what he learned while doing forensics at WKU, which included work ethic and competitive rigor, helped him in that position.

 Newman applied to be forensics director at WKU after the previous director, Jace Lux, was named director of Recruitment and Admissions this summer. 

Newman said he feels great returning to the Hill.

“It feels like I’m back home because I learned so much about who I am as a performer, who I am as a competitor, who I am as a leader and who I was as a student,” Newman said. 

Newman said forensics is more than just speech and debate. It’s how he started his life and career.

“Forensics is a huge part of my identity. Forensics has shaped me into the person I am today,” he said.

Some forensics freshmen aren’t familiar with Newman, but they are excited to see what he does with the team this year. 

Kansas City, Missouri freshman Blake Knapp said he likes Newman. 

“I think he’s a really good guy and I think he has some good leadership qualities and he could do big things in this program,” Knapp said.

Visalia, California senior Sebastian Orozco is looking forward to how the program will run under Newman.

“He’s doing a good job of motivating us seniors to keep on leading the team,” Orozco said.

Newman said he has plenty of goals for himself and his team.

“I have a huge legacy to live up to and my goal is to live up to that and to strive to live up to that every day,” Newman said.