CaptainU’s Winter 2014 College Coaches of the Year were just announced and we want you to “meet” the coaches themselves.
Meet Coach Laurence Schiller, the NC Fencing Winter 2014 CaptainU Coach of the Year! He was chosen by our committee for this award for coaching 5 fencers to nationals and accomplishing 1,150 victories (which is second all time).
Congratulations Coach Schiller!
How did you get into coaching your sport?
This is a bit complicated. I started fencing in High School on Long Island in 10th grade (15 years old), and continued in College (Rutgers). I then went to graduate school at Northwestern to get my Ph.D in African History. When I came here, I met a French graduate student who was getting an MBA at Kellogg and who was running the small fencing club. So I got involved and fenced with the undergraduates. He was replaced by a Hungarian coach who got the team fencing intercollegiately while I was in England and Kenya doing my research for my degree. Upon my return to Northwestern, the Hungarian coach got the job as women’s coach at Ohio State and I decided to ‘temporarily’ take over the club. After three years, and in the midst of our 34 game football losing streak, we got a new AD who decided to give me a contract (I had only been paid to teach fencing classes). After I finished my Ph.D, I looked for a full time history job but ultimately decided I really liked being at NU. I taught as an adjunct in the history department, so I was able to do athletics and academics. The students here are fantastic, so I stayed and so here I am having just finished my 36th season.
What do you like most about being a coach?
I like working with the young folks who are fencers. I like to teach, I like to win (something that is different than the classroom), and I like to think that I have made a positive impact on the hundreds of young people who have been my students.
That my team continued to fight, no matter what the circumstances. We had a very young group, mostly freshmen and sophomores, and they had a lot to learn as the season progressed.
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