Meet Our Coaches

 
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Robert C. Piraino

Head Coach (Épée & Foil)

Coach Piraino has over 20 years of fencing experience, and has played the role of athlete, referee, coordinator and coach.  He began fencing at Newfield HS in New York, under the legendary Coach Van Wolosin. He was later on the Varsity Fencing Team at The Ohio State University, where he was recognized as a Scholar Athlete and member of the first Midwest Conference Championship Team.  During his time at Ohio State, Robert was able to train under one of the world's most celebrated Fencing Masters, Vladimir Nazlymov.

During his career as a coach, Robert’s students have seen much success at the Regional and National levels. His fencers are consistently ranked top in the Region, and have even earned several National medals. Robert is also a nationally rated fencer and referee, in all three weapons.   He has won multiple championships, including a gold medal at the 2008 US National Championships. He is currently rated an A17 (Épée), D18 (Foil), and D16 (Saber).

Coach Piraino currently serves as the Chairman for the Tennessee Division of USA Fencing, Vice President of the Southeast Fencing Organization, Coordinator of the TN State High School Fencing League, and is a member of the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association.  

  • 2011 'Coach of the Year' Honor

  • 2010 Juames Castello 'Outstanding HS Coach' Award

  • 2008 U.S. National Foil Champion

  • 2005 North American Cup Finalist


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LEVEL II Instructor

Eric Howard

Coach (Foil)

     Coach Howard is an accomplished fencer and coach, having ran the Vanderbilt University Fencing Club for 16 seasons.  During this time, Coach Howard restored the program to dominance, creating one of the strongest club teams in the Nation.  His athletes have successfully competed at the Jr. Olympics and the U.S. National Championships. He has also attended the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association's Coaches Academy, earning his Level 2 Coaching Certification, which is internationally recognized by the Academie d'Armes International (AAI) and its member organizations.. Eric also founded the Cumberland d’Escrime fencing club in Nashville, and has served as the Chairman of the Tennessee Division of USA Fencing. 


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Moniteur d'Armes

Moniteur d'Armes

Zeno Doeleman

Coach (Épée & Foil)

Coach Doeleman, born in the Netherlands, began fencing nearly 15 years ago, when he first moved to the US.  He trained under accomplished fencing Master Paul Sise (Maître d'Armes), initially as a competitor, and later also as a coach.  He has earned his Moniteur d'Armes (Foil, Épée and Saber) coaching certification from the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA), internationally recognized by the Academie d'Armes International (AAI) and its member organizations.

Coach Doeleman's students have achieved National and International success, including the following results:

  • Gold Medal, Vet Pan-Am Games (2017)

  • World Team Member Selection

  • North American Cup Medalists (5)

  • Cadet National Points holder (Top 16)

As a competitor himself, Zeno has achieved great success on the strip.  Some of his most notable personal accomplishments are as follows:

  • Bronze Medal, US National Fencing Championships (2013)

  • 5-time Bay State Games Medalist (3 Gold Medals)

  • 2-time Nutmeg State Games Medalist (2 Silver Medals)

  • 3-time New York Fencers' Club Medalist (Bronze)

  • Cadet National Points holder (Top 16 - Cadet, North American Cup)

  • Junior National Points holder (Top 16 - Junior, North American Cup)


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John Teitenberg

Assistant Coach

     Coach Teitenberg began fencing in 1991 while attending college at Vanderbilt University.  He was a member, and later President, of the Vanderbilt University Fencing Club.  Upon graduating from Vanderbilt, John became an assistant coach with the program, and later served as the Chairman of the Tennessee Division of USA Fencing. After taking some time away from the sport to raise his three young children, John has returned to fencing as a competitor and a coach.  His eldest daughter, Elise, is also a member of our club, and trains in foil.  John holds a current national rating in both Épée (C18) and Foil (E19).

As a competitor himself, John has a history of competitive success Some of his most notable accomplishments are as follows:

  • Competitor, Junior Olympics (1992)

  • Medalist, Nutmeg State Games (1994, 1995)

  • Medalist, Georgia State Games (1998)

  • Top-8 finish, Division II North American Cup (1995) 

  • Gold medal,The Crescent City Open (1998)

  • Silver medal, the crescent city open (1995, 2002)

  • Gold medalist, Great Lake Sectionals (1998) 

  • Bronze medal, “Omaha Challenge” Regional Event (1995)


David Howard

Assistant Coach

Coach David has spent most of his life around the sport of fencing, as both of his parents are accomplished fencers and coaches. He has qualified for the Jr. Olympics and competed in the US National Championships, and North American Cup. David has also spent some time training in Switzerland, and holds a B16 National Rating in Épée. He teaches many of our group classes, and oversees our Fast Start Orientations and new member registrations.


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Robert Szokolay

Assistant Coach

     Coach Szokolay began fencing 40 years ago while at Wayne State University, where studied under Hungarian Fencing Master and Hall of Fame Coach, Istvan Danosi.  He was a Varsity letter winner on the 1977 and 1978 teams, and went on to win the Georgia State Games in Men's Epee. He currently competes at the National level, and is on the Vet-60 National Points List.  Coach Szokolay has moved back to Orlando, Florida, but visits our club a few times a month, and works with some of our newer fencers.


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Joseph Oliverius

Coach Emeritus

     Joseph has been fencing for 15 years, and is a seasoned competitor holding national ratings in all three weapons.  After wrestling in high school, Joe began fencing while in college at Ole Miss under Coach John "Doc" Mathews.  He began training with Coach Doug Harris after returning to Tennessee, and found success on the regional circuit, earning an 'A' rating in Épée just three years into his fencing career.  Joseph spent a few seasons training with Marshall Hibnes at the famed Salle Auriol in Seattle, before again returning back to Tennessee. After accepting a new job offer in Massachusetts, he is now a coach at Pioneer Valley Fencing Academy.