Michael L. Denger (C67)
Mike Denger debated at Northwestern from 1963 to 1967, during which he won 15 tournaments, the most by a debater prior to 1980. He was a member of the top two-person team for three years (1964-65 and 1965-66 with William Snyder and 1966-67 with David Zarefsky). During each of those years, the Northwestern top team had the best regular season debate record in the country. Over the three-year period Mike won 14 tournaments (or 47% of those he entered), including three consecutive Harvard tournaments (then the largest and most prestigious tournament in the country), at which he compiled a 36-2 record. He also won three sequential University of Chicago tournaments. Mike’s win-loss record in semi-final and final rounds over the three years was 32 and 2; his overall record was 225-56 (80 percent). During a four-week stretch in 1967, Mike and David won 32 straight debates and three tournaments (Harvard, Cal Tech, and Southern California), an NU record for consecutive wins. He and Bill also won 26 straight in 1966. Mike reached the quarter-finals of the National Debate Tournament in 1965 and 1967 and won the NDT with Bill Snyder in 1966. He was fourth speaker at the 1967 NDT.
As a freshman, Mike had an overall 18-6 win-loss record and won the Northern Illinois Tournament with partner Bob Hoberg.
As a sophomore, Mike and partner Bill Snyder won four tournaments — Brandeis, Chicago, Georgetown, and Harvard, and reached the quarter-finals at Dartmouth and the NDT. Their overall record was 65-24. As a junior, Mike and Bill won five of 10 tournaments entered — Kentucky, Chicago, Ohio State, Harvard, and the NDT. They also reached the elimination rounds at Brandeis, Georgetown, and Dartmouth, compiling an overall 85-17 win-loss record. In 1965-66, Mike placed in the top ten speakers in all but one regular season tournament.
As a senior, Mike Denger and David Zarefsky won five of 10 tournaments entered — Kentucky, Chicago, Harvard, the California Institute of Technology, and Southern California. They also placed second at Redlands and Brandeis and reached the quarter-finals at Miami, Georgetown, and the NDT. Their overall win-loss record was 75-15. Mike won the top speaker award at the Stanford and Miami tournaments, placed second at Harvard, Southern California, and Kentucky, third at Brandeis, and fourth at Georgetown and the NDT. Mike and David both finished in the top five speakers in all nine tournaments they entered that gave speaker awards.