Head Debate Coach Tim Greenfield Abruptly Resigns

How the Edina Debate Team still found success, coachless the week before the state tournament.


Uma Bhati

The Edina Debate team prepares for the state tournament.

Simone Vaillancourt, page editor

Tim Greenfield, Head Coach of the Edina Debate Team and Head Coach of Extemporaneous Speaking for the Edina Speech Team, abruptly resigned via email on Jan. 3, one week before the State Debate Tournament. In a message sent to debate students and families, Greenfield cited “personal mistakes” as the reason for his resignation.

In a separate email sent on Jan. 3, Troy Stein, the Edina High School Activities Director, announced that Assistant Coach Hayden Uihlein would step in as Interim Head Debate Coach for the remainder of the season. The sudden staffing change caused confusion for students who were preparing to compete at the Minnesota State High School League’s State Debate Tournament on Jan. 12 and 13. However, in his email, Stein assured debaters that he was confident in their abilities to compete without their Head Coach. “I appreciate that a coaching shift this late in the season can feel disruptive, but we at Edina High School have full confidence in Hayden and other program staff to continue coaching and mentoring students,” Stein said.   

Greenfield’s departure marks the beginning of the second staffing shift in two years for the Edina Debate Team. His resignation comes just months after that of Andy Charrier, the Head Debate Coach from 2013 to 2017, who stepped down last May.

After two seasons of high-level staffing changes, many debaters have learned to use tips given by their former coaches as a way to find success. “At first I was kind of surprised [to hear about the resignation],” freshman and first-year debater Aditya Rewalliwar said. “But, prior to his resignation, Tim gave us the tools and resources we needed to continue to do well, so I think the team will still be successful in the future.”

Senior James Kuznecoff, captain of the Public Forum debate team, said that initially it was difficult to come to terms with Greenfield’s resignation. However, the team continues to move forward. “At first, we were distraught. We knew, however, that our only option going forward was to win the state tournament to preserve [Tim’s] legacy,” Kuznecoff said.

The EHS Debate Team received first place in the Public Forum category at the MSHSL State Debate Tournament, the first time Edina has won a state championship in that category. Kuznecoff credits some of this success to Greenfield, saying: “He was more important than a coach to us, and it’s truly impossible to put into words how much we have valued his time at Edina,” Kuznecoff said.