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Bednarski retires as fencing coach

| Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Irish head coach Janusz Bednarski, who led Notre Dame to three team national championships and coached 14 NCAA individual champions over 12 seasons, has retired, University Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick announced in a press release Tuesday.

Bednarski will be replaced by associate head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia, who has spent eight years on the team’s coaching staff.

Bednarski coached 109 All-Americans across every weapon while at Notre Dame, and his teams finished in the top three at the NCAA championships a combined nine times.

In addition to his success at the NCAA championships, Bednarski also leaves the Irish as the third-winningest coach in any sport in school history, with 623 combined wins between the men’s and women’s programs. He trails only former fencing coach Mike DeCicco and current women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw.

On the global stage, Bednarski has also left a mark. Five of his former athletes have competed in the Olympics, with former Irish sabre Mariel Zagunis bringing home two gold medals.

Kvaratskhelia has been an assistant to Bednarski since 2007, when he came to Notre Dame from Salina, Kansas, to work with the team’s foilists. In the eight years since, Notre Dame has qualified the maximum four fencers in the foil at every national championship. Of those 32 fencers who competed, 29 earned All-American status.

Kvaratskhelia spent his first five years at Notre Dame as an assistant coach before being promoted to the role of associate head coach three years ago. He was named the 2010-2011 U.S. Fencing National Coach of the Year, as well as the 2013 Midwest Fencing Conference Varsity Coach of the Year.

Kvaratskhelia and the Irish will send several individuals to the North American Cup in Dallas on Friday, but the next team event is not until Jan. 24, when Notre Dame travels to New York City to face St. John’s.

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