Penn fencing coach will be inducted after 52 years in the sport

Micahnik finally to be in Hall of Fame

From an article at The Daily Pennsylvanian

By Brandon Moyse
Issue date: 7/19/07 Section: Sports

With 52 years of fencing under his belt, Penn coach Dave Micahnik is more than just a fixture in the sport – he is an all-time great.

And he is finally being recognized for this as the United States Fencing Association recently elected him for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Better late than never, some may say. Count HOF committee chairman Andy Shaw among that group.

“He could have been in sooner,” Shaw said. “There’s no question he should be in the Hall. Recognizing greatness and being great are two different things.”

Micahnik nailed down the latter as a three-time Olympian, a national top-10 fencer, and as a successful college coach – 32 winning seasons and a Coach of the Year award in 1997.

“A lot of people were surprised that I wasn’t inducted a long time ago,” Micahnik said. He added, though, that it was an honor that never really crossed his mind when he took up fencing a half-century ago.

But Micahnik never got impatient. The hallmarks of his career have been his measured approach and quiet intensity.

Shaw recalls an incident with Micahnik was while Shaw refereeing the Ivy title match between Penn and Columbia in the early 1980s. While the Columbia coach was “going ballistic” to the point of causing three referees to withdraw, Micahnik paced the sideline calmly.

“He knew throwing a fit would do no good,” Shaw said. “Dave was measured, intelligent … always knew the story and never lost himself in it.”

Despite this somewhat stoic demeanor, Micahnik could not help but get emotional when he found out that he was elected to the Hall of Fame.

It was special for him because he felt that “it’s a career vote: not just as a competitor, not just as a coach or an administrator or a volunteer, it’s the whole thing. It’s validation, it’s a good feeling to be recognized and be appreciated.”

The actual induction will take place a year from now, at the 2008 Summer Nationals in San Jose, Calif. One of his former assistants, Cathy McClellan, will also be inducted with him.

How has Micahnik spent the last few days celebrating his latest achievement? He’s not sitting back relaxing, that’s for sure. The Hall of Famer has been busy helping to install a new floor in the fencing room at Penn. Dedication never rests, even after 52 years.