A long-term member of the USA Fencing family, George Kolombatovich (Sarasota, Fla.), passed away on Wednesday.
One of the longest tenured coaches in NCAA history, Kolombatovich led Columbia University Fencing Team for 32 seasons (1979 – 2011), leading the Lions to back-to-back combined National Championships in 1992 and 1993 as well as men’s titles in 1987, 1988 and 1989. Under Kolombatovich’s tutelage, Columbia fencers won 17 individual NCAA titles with several athletes qualifying for the Olympic Games, including 2008 silver medalists James Williams (New York City, N.Y.) and Erinn Smart (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Kolombatovich served as a referee at three Olympic Games (1984, 1992, 1996) and was a member of the Federation Internationale d’Escrime Refereeing Commission from 2000-08 as well as a veteran of the Fencing Officials Commission for USA Fencing for more than 30 years.
He was voted into the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame by the USA Fencing membership in 2016 and is survived by his wife, Etta Kolombatovich, and his children – Gail, George II, Glenn and Erika.