Jennifer Prosser | January 30, 2017
As the athletes wielded their weapons at the 2016 National Fencing Championships, it was Hall of Fame Olympic women's foil coach Anthony “Buckie” Leach who dropped the bombshell: he would be moving from his elite Manhattan fencing club to join the Fighting Irish program in Notre Dame, Indiana.
“It was the biggest bombshell,” Irish head fencing coach and long-time friend of Leach, Gia Kvaratskhelia said. “No one could believe it. No one anticipated that he make that move to South Bend. That the best coach would come here will just elevate Notre Dame to that next level. Recruiting, developing, everything. We were absolutely jubilant when he committed.”
During his career, Leach’s students have included seven Olympians; 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. His resume fits well with the program that Kvaratskhelia has built, which features 10 NCAA individual champions; 38 All-Americans; and roughly half of the current U.S. women’s national junior and senior teams. Kvaratskhelia himself helps coach the U.S. Junior Men’s Foil team and associate head coach Cedric Loiseau coaches at the national level as well, working with the U.S. Cadet Men’s Epee team.
“The environment and way we've been recruiting for the past few years we've had the opportunity to create something really great here,” Kvaratskhelia said. “Buckie felt like it was appealing to him. To us, it was appealing to bring the best professional in the field who has the character, the integrity and would fit the Notre Dame mold. Not just for his ability to coach on the strip, but off the strip as well.”