What started as a rehabilitative activity for a Spanish professor after an automobile accident has turned into one of the most successful programs in all of collegiate sports. Since its first varsity season in 1936, Notre Dame’s Fencing team has consistently aimed for excellence on and off the strip.
The University’s illustrious fencing history includes nine national titles, 292 All-Americans, and a .903 all-time winning percentage. Under legendary coach Mike DeCicco, Notre Dame Fencing went an astounding 680-45, making him one of the winningest coaches in the University’s history. DeCicco was also instrumental in establishing the women's fencing team as one of Notre Dame's first varsity sports for women in 1977.
The success of the Fighting Irish fencing team carries on after student-athletes earn their Notre Dame degrees. Alumnus Gerek Meinhardt (’15, foil) played the part of linchpin for the United States men’s foil team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, leading a 45-31 comeback victory against top-seeded Italy in the bronze-medal match to bring home the first medal for a U.S. men’s foil squad since the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Lee Kiefer (’17, foil) won four NCAA foil championships during her time at Notre Dame and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in women’s foil, marking the first time an American woman has attained the top world ranking.
The Irish are currently led by foil specialist Gia Kvaratskhelia, who is regarded as one of the top foil coaches in the nation. With strong recruitment and a solid coaching foundation, the Fighting Irish are poised for continued success for years to come.
Join the Rockne Heritage Fund
The Rockne Heritage Fund was created in 2002 to galvanize alumni, parents, and friends of Notre Dame to fund expendable grants-in-aid for student-athletes. Members help ensure that the University continues to offer its student-athletes, regardless of their financial resources, a transforming educational experience, one that combines intellectual rigor, athletic excellence, and an emphasis on spirituality and moral values.