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Micahnik Makes Final Salute as Penn's Fencing Coach

Monday, April 20, 2009

Courtesy of Penn Athletic Communications

PHILADELPHIA - Winning seasons, All-Americans and All-Ivy selections have become the norm over more than three decades for Penn men's and women's fencing programs. After 35 seasons building and overseeing that success as head coach, Hall of Famer David Micahnik has announced his retirement. He made the announcement at the fencing team banquet Sunday night, held at The Inn at Penn.

Most recently, Micahnik was inducted into the United States Fencing Association Hall of Fame as a member of its 2008 class. Micahnik also was honored as an inductee into the inaugural class of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, and into the second class of the University of Pennsylvania Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.

"I have every confidence that Penn Fencing will continue to be among the nation's elite programs," said Micahnik. 'The teams are strong again going into the next season. With the continued strong support of the Athletic Department's administration, the new head coach will be able to maintain and build upon what has gone before, just as we have done from year to year. From one who bleeds Red and Blue, I say GO PENN!"

"Dave is truly a Penn treasure, and his contribution to Penn Athletics and the fencing programs is unmatched," said Penn's Director of Athletics, Steve Bilsky. "He has always been the consummate professional and a loyal member of the Penn coaching fraternity. I am pleased that he will be assisting us in our unprecedented development campaign, and we are sure the legions of fencing alumni and Dave's friends join me in wishing Dave and his wife Phyllis a wonderful, well-deserved retirement."

Success has marked the Micahnik era, as he has led Penn to winning records in each of his 34 years at the helm of both the men's and women's programs. His teams have consistently been among the nation's elite, and the long-time head coach was rewarded by being named the 1997 U.S. Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) Collegiate Coach of the Year.

Micahnik certainly ends his career on a high note, as the fencing teams enjoyed unprecedented success in the 2008-09 season. The men started the collection of trophies by capping an undefeated regular season with a win at the Ivy League Championships for the 16th time overall and the first time since 2003. That was followed by a bevy of wins at the IFA Championships including the program's first-ever six-weapon title. The men's team also won the three-weapon and sabre titles while sharing the epee with Harvard, while the women shared the sabre championship with Columbia. Individually, freshman Alex Simmons won gold in the foil, Andrew Bielen took silver in the sabre, while Vidur Kapur and Danielle Kamis were bronze medalists. At the NCAAs, nine athletes earned Penn a seventh-place finish, and four of them -- Jonathan Berkowsky, Ben Wieder, Dominika Franciszkowicz and Stephanie Wheeler -- earned All-America honors.

Under Micahnik's tutelage, the men were 331-103 (.763) while the women had a 363-104 (.777) mark. Combined, the teams had an impressive record of 694-208 (.769).

For the complete story of Michanik's retirement, head to

- A.S.