Former Princeton fencing coach Michel Sebastiani will be inducted into the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame with the Class of 2015, USA Fencing announced Thursday, June 19.
Sebastiani, who succeeded the winningest coach in Princeton men's fencing history, Stan Sieja, in 1982, was one of three coaches announced as inductees in the five-member class.
Only Sieja, who coached the men's program from 1946-82 and whose name is on Princeton's fencing room, coached at Princeton longer than Sebastiani, who headed the men's program from 1982-2006 and the women's program from its founding in 1988 through 2006.
During those 24 seasons, Sebastiani's men's teams won 213 matches, behind only Sieja's 258, and compiled a winning percentage of .705, bettered only by current head coach Zoltan Dudas at .767 (135-41). The men won six Ivy titles under Sebastiani, in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001. At the NCAA level, Sebastiani coached four individual national champions, with epeeists Harald Winkmann '95 in 1994 and Soren Thompson '05 in 2001 and saberist Max Pekarev '99 in 1996 on the men's side. Foilist Eva Petschnigg '03 in 2000 was the women's program's first NCAA champion. Thirty-six men and 25 women won All-America honors under Sebastiani.
Sebastiani guided the women's program to its first three Ivy League titles, in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and 141 dual-match victories, a total Dudas surpassed just this year, now with 167.
The inductees were decided based on a vote of USA Fencing members. Sebastiani received 501 votes, the most of any among the coach candidates. The induction is a year away, with the 2014 class being enshrined on June 27.
For the USA Fencing announcement on the inductees, click here.