PHILADELPHIA The Fourth of July holiday weekend was not only special in terms of celebrating America’s birthday, it marked the indication weekend for the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame Class of 2008 featuring Penn’s fencing head coach, Dave Micahnik.
The festivities took place in the Bay Area and included a private reception at the California Club hosted by Young Sohn, ’79 and the Hall of Fame Ceremony in San Jose on July 5th.
The reception at the California Club in Palo Alto was attended by numerous former Penn fencers including 1953 NCAA Champion in sabre Robert Parmacek and his brother Ed, a 1960 first-team All-American. Other fencers in attendance included three-time All-American Jane Hall Carter, former Penn and U.S. National Team fencer Jennifer Gilbert, as well as Michael Morgan, David Donadio and Stan Bailiss, who was coach Micahnik’s teammate at Penn in the late 1950s.
“The reception at the California Club was very nice,” Micahnik said. “It was informal and allowed all of us with Penn ties to reflect on how the program has changed over the years. We had a round table discussion on everything Penn from Maestro Csiszar to the current success we have been having.”
Another highlight of the night was a DVD put together by Michael Morgan that highlighted the career of Micahnik all the way from his days fencing at Penn through his current seasons as head coach.
“I think the best part of that DVD was video from Maestro Csiszar giving me a lesson when he was 91-years old,” Micahnik said.
On Saturday night, the seven-member Class of 2008 was inducted into the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame. It was a busy night for Micahnik, as he was called upon to accept the induction of Ed Korfanty on his behalf as Korfanty was busy training the U.S. Women’s Fencing Team for the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing. Then followed the induction of Cathy McClellan a former Penn assistant coach under Micahnik.
After those two inductions, it was finally Micahnik’s turn. Following a ten-minute introduction by Morgan, Micahnik took the podium to accept his honor.
“What a tremendous feeling it was to be up there, surrounded by my family and dear friends,” Micahnik said. “I had some notes, which helped keep me on track. I think the highlight was the personal reflections that gave people insight into my career and ambitions.”
One thing that struck Micahnik was the speed with which the ceremony moved.
“It was like a train that just sped along,” he said. All of a sudden it was my turn.”
Micahnik’s involvement in fencing will not be hindered by his status as a Hall of Famer. In addition to the coaching and recruiting he performed at the tournaments held in San Jose, the day after his induction he was back in the boardroom with the U.S. Fencing Board of Directors which he was recently re-elected to by the U.S. Fencing Congress.
“We as a group have an important role to play in the upcoming years,” Micahnik said. “There are a lot of important decisions to be made with the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee about the direction fencing heads in.”
Who better to sit in on those meetings than a member of the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame?