Tom is an immensely cerebral coach, with a vast knowledge of debate strategy, tactics, and the literature base underpinning the activity. His intense dedication to his student’s wellbeing and success is evident in the champions coached; he draws on a decade of experience in both graduate studies and coaching students to victory in the highest levels of competition to mold the merely good into great.
— Ram Prasad, 2013-2014 TOC Bid Leader and 2014 Stanford Champion


  • 13 years experience coaching debate and 7 years of directing debate institutes
  • Coached TOC Outround participants nearly every year of his coaching career including the 2014 Finalist
  • Coached 2 NSDA Nationals Champions and 1 Finalist
  • Winner of the 2016 Michael Bacon Coaching Award
Tom perfectly combines the experience of a person with graduate philosophy study and the vision of debate champions past and present. He could find, consider, and break down any and every question I had, turning the complex into the extremely accessible. Tom was an effective and welcoming teacher, able to understand the optimal approach to every situation.
— David Branse, 2015 TOC Finalist

Tom Evnen has a B.A. in philosophy from Swarthmore College, and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago. Over the last 13 years, he has worked as a full time classroom teacher, a director of debate, and an assistant debate coach, and has consistently been one of the most successful national circuit debate coaches in the country.

As a high school student in the early 2000s, Tom debated for Lincoln Southeast High School in Nebraska. Tom twice cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions. His senior year, he was the state champion and a finalist at the Tournament of Champions.

Since then, Tom has worked as an active debate coach and educator for over a decade. He was been a full time teacher and debate coach at the Hockaday School (TX), and has also coached at University School (FL), Oxbridge Academy (FL), Lake Highland (FL), and La Jolla (CA). Tom’s students have cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions thirteen times, including four quarterfinalists, two semifinalists, and a finalist. Tom also coached students to the final round of LD at the NFL/NSDA National Tournament for three years in a row, and were victors in two of those three years. In addition, Tom’s students have reached finals or won championships at Apple Valley, Blake, Bronx, the Bronx Round Robin, Emory, Greenhill, the Greenhill Round Robin, Glenbrooks, Harvard, Stanford, St. Marks, Valley, and Yale. 

Tom met his wife when they were in high school, where she was a policy debater on his team. They now live in Nebraska and are the proud parents of two sons, Benjamin and Jonathan.