The latest Penn State coach to make an exit this summer appears to be Emmanuil Kaidanov, the head coach of the Penn State fencing program.
The Facebook page “The Fencing Coach,” an account run by an insider in the fencing community, put several interesting posts on its page yesterday:
“BREAKING NEWS: Longtime Penn State fencing coach and winningest coach in NCAA history Emmanuil Kaidanov to be let go today. … It is unclear at this time as to why the move was made.”
“The Penn State AD held a conference call with members of the fencing team today and said that duties and responsibilities of coaching would be split amongst current assistant coaches. This is subject to change.”
Normally, we would wait until the news came from the athletic department itself, but their website raised further suspicions. Kaidanov’s name has been removed from the staff directory and the head coach section under the fencing team simply says “TBD.”
Kaidanov was known as an excellent fencing coach and is widely respected throughout the sport. He coached at Penn State for 30 years and compiled a stunning record of 795-77. Kaidanov led the team to two consecutive NCAA championships in 2009 and 2010. He led the men’s and women’s teams to a combined 28 national championships during his tenure.
The program is arguably the top fencing program in the NCAA, largely thanks to Kaidanov’s coaching and recruitment. The most recent example of this is Miles Chamley-Watson, who went on to be a London Olympian and recently became the first American to win a gold medal at the World Fencing Championships.
If it’s true that Kaidanov was forced out and didn’t resign or retire, there would have to be a good reason for it. His performance as the fencing program’s head coach has been above and beyond what the department could have expected when they hired him all those years ago.
This has been a tumultuous summer in Penn State athletics, as baseball coach Robbie Wine, swimming and diving coach John Hargis, and softball coach Robin Petrini all resigned in the last three months.
UPDATE: Penn State athletics has officially released a statement confirming that Kaidanov is out as fencing coach. From TheFencingCoach:
“This is a confidential personnel matter and we therefore are not at liberty to discuss it. He no longer is a University employee.”