Ed Korfanty is a member of the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame, a three-time world champion in the veterans’ saber division and coach of the most decorated fencer in U.S. history.
And now he is an event.
This week’s saber World Cup meet in Chicago has been renamed the Korfanty Cup.
And it’s perfectly fitting that the only senior World Cup event in the United States honors the coach who has played a huge role in giving his adopted country what International Fencing Federation official Ioan Pop calls “an important international presence” after years of inconsequential status.
Mariel Zagunis, whom Korfanty has coached to two Olympic titles and two world titles, is among those scheduled to compete in the event that runs Friday through Sunday at Navy Pier.
Zagunis, an NCAA champion at Notre Dame, is to be joined by the other five members of the 2012 U.S. OIympic men’s and women’s saber teams, including 2008 silver medalists Tim Morehouse and James Williams.
The women’s field includes six of the top ten in the current world ranking, topped by Zagunis (1) and Olga Kharlan of Ukraine (3), a member of the 2008 Olympic team gold medalists.
Korfanty, 60, left his native Poland in 1990. He would spend three years as an assistantcoach at Notre Dame before becoming head coach at Zagunis’ club, the Oregon Fencing Alliance, in 1994.
“Notre Dame was a good place to work, but (college fencing) is only a six-month season, and I thought I was still young enough to produce top-ranked international fencers if I worked with them full time,” he said of the move.
His students at OFA include two women’s senior world champions, Zagunis and Becca Ward. All told, OFA fencers under Korfanty’s tutelage have won more than 40 world championship medals at various age levels.