Jan. 16, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame fencing coach Janusz Bednarski has been tabbed the 2010-11 NCAA Coach of the Year in fencing, it was announced by the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA). Additionally, assistant coach Ian Farr has been selected to the U.S. coaching staff for various women's sabre World Cups.
For Bednarski, it marks the first time being selected NCAA Coach of the Year after twice receiving the USFCA Midwest Regional Coach of the Year (1997, 1999). The 2010-11 campaign saw the Irish return to the national forefront, claiming their eighth National Championship and third under the direction of Bednarski, dating back to the '03 season when he took over as head coach of the program.
"Being named Coach of the Year is a great honor," remarked Bednarski. "With the results of last season it is a great satisfaction that my work and the hard work of others within the team including our athletes, coaches, administrators and other staff members was so effective and was rewarded in this way. It truly is a great honor and one I am very proud to have received."
En route to the team's title run, Bednarski guided the men's team to a 29-1 regular season record, while the women posted an undefeated 29-0 ledger. The squad then made history at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships, capturing the overall team title for the second consecutive year while becoming the first team to sweep each of the six weapon concentrations since the conference formed in '99.
Bednarski's team qualified the maximum 12 fencers for the NCAA Championship and enjoyed four individual podium finishes on their way to the title. Freshman foilist Ariel DeSmet (Troutdale, Ore.) and junior epeeist Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) each claimed individual gold in their respective weapons, while senior sabreur Avery Zuck (Beaverton, Ore.) captured a silver medal and senior sabreuse Eileen Hassett (Beaverton, Ore.) secured bronze. It marked the second time that a Bednarski-coached squad captured two gold medals in the same Championship, as Sarah Borrmann (women's sabre) and Kelley Hurley (women's epee) accomplished the feat in '08.
Farr, meanwhile, begins his first coaching stint with USA Fencing as he assists in instructing the women's sabre squad at various international World Cup events. In his first season with the Irish as a sabre specialist, Farr helped Zuck and Hassett capture first-team All-America citations, while senior Barron Nydam (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) earned second team All-American and sophomore Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash.) claimed third-team billing.
"I am very excited about travelling with the U.S. team to London," stated Farr. "It will be a great honor and will also serve as a great opportunity to expand my knowledge base."
Previous to beginning his career in the coaching ranks, Farr enjoyed a successful sabre career at Penn State University where he earned All-America honors on two occasions and helped the team win the National Championship in '07.