MEET THE STAFF...
HEAD COACH, GIA KVARATSKHELIA
Guiorgie "Gia" Kvaratskhelia (GEE-uh KLAW-duh-SKELL-ee-uh) became the seventh head coach in Notre Dame fencing history in 2014, succeeding Janusz Bednarski after having spent the previous three years as associate head coach and five as an assistant. Kvaratskhelia is a foil specialist, regarded as one of the top foil coaches in the nation.
Since joining the Irish staff in 2007, Kvaratskhelia has overseen a thriving foil program. Irish foilists have qualified the maximum of four foilists each year for NCAA championship play, with 38 of the 40 total appearances (through 2016) resulting in All-America honors. Since 2008, four foilists have achieved four-time All-America status with Kvaratskhelia at the helm. Irish foilists have captured six NCAA individual championships since 2010, including a three-time winner in Lee Kiefer (2013-’14-’15) and two-time winner in Gerek Meinhardt (2010, 2014). Ariel DeSmet also captured a men’s foil championship as a freshman in 2011.
ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH (EPEE), CEDRIC LOISEAU
With over eight years of epee coaching experience, Cedric Loiseau enters his first season as associate head fencing coach at the University of Notre Dame and fourth overall, boasting a pedigree both on and off the strip. Loiseau has already developed numerous pupils who have flourished on the international fencing scene.
Since arriving at Notre Dame, Loiseau has overseen the development of the Irish épée squads, including three All-American performances by a pair of student athletes — Garrett McGrath (2014) and Ashley Severson (2014, 2015).
ASSISTANT COACH (FOIL), BUCKIE LEACH
Buckie Leach joined the Notre Dame fencing staff as an assistant coach prior to the 2016-17 season. The legendary foil specialist came to the Irish from U.S. Fencing, at the conclusion of his second stint as the United States National Women's Foil Team coach, after the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janiero in 2016.
Leach, a native of Ithaca, New York, and a 2013 Fencing Hall of Fame inductee, combines the ability to develop talent to world-class levels, and to bring results on the biggest stages. During his career, his students have included seven Olympians (at least one on each U.S. Olympic Team since 1996); two Under-20 World Champions; five Under-17 World Champions; three World Championship bronze medalists; an Olympic Silver Medalist; four NCAA Champions; several collegiate All-Americans; and numerous U.S. National Champions.
ASSISTANT COACH (SABRE), ALEKS OCHOCKI
Ochocki joined the Irish in March 2017 after five seasons as an assistant at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, and seven seasons as a coach at Linden, New Jersey’s Polish American Fencing School. Ochocki is also owner and head coach of Advance Fencing & Fitness Academy in Garwood, New Jersey.
“We were looking for a dynamic young sabre coach, and Aleks fits the bill perfectly,” Kvaratskhelia said. “As a two-time NCAA champion and international competitor, he brings tremendous experience to the position and has weight to his words. As a coach — both at Stevens Tech and at the club level — he has produced outstanding young fencers and national team members. He also has experience in the US national team coaching setup. As a result, he knows everyone in the fencing community — senior, junior and cadet — and they know him. Having Aleks with us is another big step towards my goal of having the unquestioned best staff in the country.”