Speech team head coach to step down


Jay Deegan

Jeremy Lin talks to a student in the speech room (rm. 214) on Feb. 16, a day before the team left to compete at the IHSA Speech State Finals.

Jay Deegan, Editorial Editor

Jeremy Lin, Central English teacher and head coach of the speech team for eight years, will be stepping down as coach after this current speech season. 

“A few things influenced my decision to step down,” Lin said. “The biggest one is that I’m trying to finish my doctorate. The research that I would be doing involves me going to different schools. And unfortunately, because of the way that coaching works, it’s like an after school thing, so it just wouldn’t work out. So this past year, I’ve found that it was very hard for me to make progress on my dissertation while still being a coach at the same time.”

Lin will be replaced by Central English teacher Emily Rigik and Kerri Donovan, a math teacher at Yorkville High School. Both Rigik and Donovan are currently assistant coaches, and Donovan was a former captain of Central’s speech team in 2015-16. 

“I think it’s in good hands,” speech team captain Jeremy Zhao said. “They have a lot of experience with all different types of events and things and they’re just nice people.”

Lin is pursuing his doctorate in Learning Design and Leadership, with a focus in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support.

“There’s a lot of research out there that talks about what teachers think about what the data says, but not much out there in terms of what the students feel and their perceptions of the system,” Lin said.

Lin is currently unsure whether he will return to coaching the speech team after he finishes his doctorate. He said he hopes to finish his dissertation in around a year and a half.

“With the doctorate being finished, that opens up some doors for me, whether it’s to stay here at Central and teach and I would love to do that,” Lin said. “[Or] whether it’s work at a district level somewhere. I don’t necessarily know and I think that I won’t know until that time comes. But it’s not like I’m closing the door.”

During Lin’s time coaching, two students won individual state championships: Ryan Park in the 2017-18 season in Informative Speaking and Maryam Tariq in the 2021-22 season in Radio Speaking.

“He’s been really supportive,” Zhao said. “He’s always been a mentor to me. I will say that he puts quite a lot of pressure on us. He sets a very high standard, but it’s very clear that he cares about us.”