Legendary fencing coach Francisco Martin back from retirement


Vincent Alban

Masters fencers compete in the Francisco Martin Fencing Room.

Kate Sibery, Contributing Writer

Olympic fencing captain Francisco Martin has always been an integral part of the fencing program at Masters. After an unexpected return to his coaching position, Martin is looking forward to a successful season with the team.

Martin first came to Masters in 1984 as a soccer coach and soon realized that the school was looking for a new winter sports program. With a master’s degree in fencing from the Academy of France and six consecutive national championships, he was incredibly equipped to aid in the development of a new fencing program. From there the team grew rapidly, eventually attracting students on an international scale. “[When] the school became co-ed, the boys also made a great addition to the team,” Martin added.

Two years into his retirement, the Athletic Director Kevin Versen’s request for Martin to return to the fencing program was quite unexpected. However, he said, “I had the time, so I had the moral obligation. The Masters School is in my heart forever.” His own daughter, Nancy Martin, was a member of the graduating class of 1994, furthering his connection to and love for the school.

The team’s response to Martin’s return has been overall positive, and Martin feels that he definitely received a warm welcome. Sophomore Sophie Neale said, “I think he’s a really good coach and I’m really happy to be working with him this year and I really feel like I’m going to learn a lot.”

Although Martin is a new face to the younger members of the team, several seniors knew him when he worked as their coach before his retirement. Senior Daniel Berov noted, “I knew him just briefly, I was on the JV team at the time. But he’s always just been in love with coaching, especially here at Masters.”

Prior to his retirement, Martin’s coaching style was reflective of his highly prestigious background in the sport, including his experience as the captain for the 2012 Olympic Games. Senior Jenna Bosshart recalled, “He was really intense, he definitely wanted everyone to kind of compare to his past, because he was an Olympic coach, so that was a bit intimidating, but we definitely saw results and he made us work really hard.”

Martin is looking forward to a successful season with the team, as his goal still remains to get the best results in competition, while also motivating the team to work to the best of their ability.