FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The United States Fencing Coaches Association has chosen Sacred Heart Head Fencing Coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel as the 2014 Collegiate Varsity Coach of the Year. In his ninth season as the Pioneers head fencing coach, Dr. Vrabel led the team to an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Fencing Championship this past year.
A team-record five fencers (Andrew Holmes – foil, Jonathan Jacovino, Devon Clark, Megan Floyd – epee, Julia Greene – saber) made it to the Championship where Holmes and Jacovino each placed eleventh in their respective weapons and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors. Both Sacred Heart fencing teams were Northeast Fencing Conference Champions, with men's team winning the crown for the fifth consecutive year.
"This is a tremendous honor for Coach Vrabel, Sacred Heart University and our fencing program," said Bobby Valentine, Executive Director of Athletics. "The success of Pioneer fencing is attributable to Tom's hard work and dedication and I am pleased to see him honored by his peers on the national stage. This is a proud day for Pioneer fans everywhere. Congratulations Tom!"
The teams had five First Team All-Conference selections (Andrew Holmes – foil, Devon Clark, Khristopher White, Megan Floyd – epee, Julia Greene – saber) and three Second Team All-Conference selections (Jonathan Jacovino, Natalie Rossetti – epee, Thomas Gerrity – saber). The Women's Team was New England Intercollegiate Tournament Champions and the Men's Team placed second in this prestigious end of season championship. The Pioneers had half of the individual champions at this Tournament, with Holmes, Floyd and Greene winning gold medals.
"I am very honored to be recognized by the USFCA as the Varsity College Coach of the Year", said Dr. Vrabel. "I would like to thank our fencers for making this award necessary. This recognition is really an acknowledgement of how hard our athletes worked this year and how much belief they have in themselves and their teammates. They are the ones who score the touches and win the bouts for Sacred Heart. My assignment is to get them to realize just how good they truly are."