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Announcing Two Changes to the National Coaching Staff for Men’s Epee

01/23/2023, 8:00am CST
By Bryan Wendell

Franco Cerutti has been selected as national head coach, while Dwight Smith will serve as national assistant coach for Team USA’s men’s epee program.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Fencing today announced the selection of Franco Cerutti as national head coach for men’s epee and Dwight Smith as national assistant coach for men’s epee.

Cerutti had been serving as national head coach on an interim basis since October, when Sergey Danilov announced to the team that he was stepping aside from the position for personal reasons. Cerutti had also been serving as national director of epee — a position that will not be replaced.

Today’s coaching appointments provide strength and stability to the men’s epee program and further deepen the talented pool of national weapon coaches who support Team USA fencers across all three weapons — epee, foil and saber. 

That’s especially timely with the 2023 Fencing World Championships and 2024 Paris Olympics approaching fast.

“Franco and Dwight know what it will take — both on and off the strip — to lead our men’s epee team to new heights,” says Kate Reisinger, USA Fencing’s Chief of Sport Performance. “Our men’s epee athletes are skilled, creative and driven. I know they will enjoy working with Franco and Dwight throughout this season and beyond.”

Meet Franco Cerutti

Before joining USA Fencing in January 2022, Cerutti worked with Swiss Fencing as the executive director of high performance. He served the Swiss team as chief-of-mission and director of performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

In 2018, Cerutti led the Swiss to the team’s first senior world title — a men’s epee team gold at the 2018 Fencing World Championships in China. Prior to his role with the Swiss Fencing senior team, Cerutti coached Swiss Fencing youth squads and was the head coach for junior squads at European and World Championships. 

Cerutti holds several degrees and diplomas in sports, including being a Maitre d’Armes from the British Academy of Fencing and a Coach in Competitive Sports with Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training from the Swiss Federal Office of Sport.

Meet Dwight Smith

Smith most recently completed a successful 2021-22 season as assistant fencing coach at Long Island University. In recognition of his achievements there, Smith was named assistant coach of the year by the United States Fencing Coaches Association.

Smith was a three-time All-American while at Columbia and a four-time member of the USA national team. In 2021, he was an Olympic alternate for men’s epee and traveled with the team to Tokyo as a training partner.

Smith has traveled extensively to support Team USA at cadet, junior and senior epee tournaments around the world. He’s also a coach with the Fencers Club in New York and the Peter Westbrook Foundation, as well as an active member of USA Fencing committees devoted to growing our sport.

Tag(s): Updates