Wolfe, Jeff

Jeff Wolfe, a longtime coach at Brentwood High School, fenced at New York University. After graduating he became a teacher at Brentwood High School where he began both a Boys’ Team and a Girls’ Team.

jeffwolfebrentwoodhs1.jpgJeff Wolfe, a longtime coach at Brentwood High School, fenced at New York University. After graduating he became a teacher at Brentwood High School where he began both a Boys’ Team and a Girls’ Team.

The Girls’ Team was the first girls’ varsity program on Long Island.

During his tenure (1971- 1998) the Girls’ Team had 18 undefeated seasons, 19 League Championships and 18 Sectional Championships.

The team set a N. Y. State record winning 98 consecutive dual meets.

Jeff Wolfe’s W-L record at Brentwood was 388-14.

Eight of his fencers became collegiate All- Americans

Four represented the United States in international competition.

In 1987, he was the first recipient of the NFCAA Regional Coach Of the Year Award

In 1988 he was named to coach the US Cadet Team at the Continental Cadet Championships and the World Cadet Championships.

He continues to coach as an assistant at Ward Melville High School.

In 2006 the Long Island Division of the USFA announced that beginning in 2007 it would give a Coach Of the Year Award named the “Jeff Wolfe Coach Of the Year Award”


Looking back at their experience with Coach Jeff wolfe, here are some of his former students thoughts and memories:


“Coach Wolfe taught me not only to hold a foil, to lunge, parry and riposte. Not only to become an International competitor and Olympic contender. He taught me how to work hard to be the very best I could be, to persevere in the face of challenges I thought were greater than me, to dream bigger and

brighter than I had ever before dared, and to hold my head high and be graceful in the face of victory as well as defeat: all traits that, decades later, make me the proud and successful woman that I am. I love you, Coach Wolfe.”

Tracey Burton-Houle, Executive TOC Consultant

North America Group

I started fencing with Jeff in 1973 as a 10th grader at Brentwood H.S. in Long Island, NY. Jeff was a caring and compassionate coach. He taught the young women on his team discipline, dignity, respect for self and others, a strong work ethic and probably most important for me, the notion that hard

work is synonymous with success. All Jeff’s fencers were taught to fence hard, clean and honestly. Being a member of the Brentwood Girls’ Fencing Team, was a daily experience of pride; which many of us had not had before.

You could not help to be proud by being a member of a team that was always undefeated and county champions. Yes, we did lose our individual bouts and when acting inappropriately we were quickly benched; no matter what our rank on the team. Jeff would not tolerate poor sportsmanship.

In fencing with Jeff, I not only was able to gain strong fundamentals of the sport, but also was able to enhance my life and gain opportunities through fencing. Like many students that attended Brentwood H.S., my father was a blue collar worker with limited funds. My parents could not afford to send me to a Junior Olympics, no less pay tuition for college. Jeff knowing this, must have told my story to his colleagues at the H.S. and miraculously I went to a J.O. my senior year paid for by an anonymous teacher at the H.S.

Jeff took the trip with me to the 1976 J.O.’s which became a turning point in my life. Ultimately, I received a scholarship to North Carolina State and then transferred after 2 years to San Jose State to fence with Mike D’Asaro. At San Jose I earned an All American title and was a member of the NIWFA

Championship team. If not for Jeff I may not have gone to college at all; and certainly not to an out of state fencing school. I was only one of many who have received fencing scholarships to universities. A Brentwood Athletic Director, whose daughter was also a fencer, began to keep track in dollar amounts the scholarship money Jeff’s fencers had received; it was well over a half a million dollars, almost 3/4 million. Jeff did this through numerous phone calls and networking with university coaches on his time.

Jeff continued to care about his fencers even after they had left him. Through speaking with others coaches, he found out how we were doing. He sent me my first telegram to congratulate me on winning the NIWFA Team Championships while at San Jose. He drove myself and another fencer to Montreal to see the 1976 Olympic Games. He was always available to listen or give advice about fencing, school, and life; not only while we were in H.S., but even after graduating. Jeff always gave to his fencers selflessly. The amount of his time, money, emotions and caring cannot be calculated.

In considering Jeff for nomination into the USFA Hall of Fame please recognize not only for his accomplishments as a coach and the results of his fencers (of which mine is minor compared to many others), but for how he used fencing as a catalyst to give young women, like myself, the skills not

only to attain their goals as athletes and fencers, but also life skills like respect, dignity, hard work, honesty and perseverance.

Respectfully submitted by,

Diane Knoblach

Letter from Dr. Lisa Piazza

Jeff not only coached the varsity and jr varsity teams, but reached out to students early on, preparing them for high school and USFA (then AFLA) competition. He literally transported

us there. This was a sacrifice made largely on his own time and his own dime (as they say), and by the good graces of his generous, tolerant (and no doubt, equally regretful) family. Jeff’s skill, dedication and compassion as a coach was daily apparent, and he taught from the place from which only the best of teachers speak–his heart and mind.What a priviledge for a young woman to have the opportunity to work with the man who built a team that was a literal dynasty at our school and among

the high schools of the north east. The number of undefeated seasons(eighteen), county and league championships (eighteen), boggles the mind. How did he do this? I think it was a combination of talent, skill, education, interest, intelligence, dedication, sacrifice, and most importantly, empathy and deep affection for the young women who were entrusted to his care. It is no doubt why it is Jeff who began the careers, and ushered forth into the fencing world—the likes of so many of my

fabulous female fencing colleagues as Tracy Burton, Gail Rossman, Janet Rossman, Christie Como,and

April (Smith) Collins. Together these women populated the top university fencing teams winning NCAA and NIWFA Team titles. At the 1988 NCAA, 6 of 8 teams in the finals had a Brentwood fencer starting. Nine different women have earned All-American Status. Some earned their berths on U.S.Junior

World Championship, U.S. Senior World Championship, and U.S. University Games Teams, and have been honored in their university athletics hall of fame.

Regarding the personal impact Jeff had on my life, I don’t know where to begin. Jeff got me started, captured my interest, and soon I HAD TO leave a competing beloved position as captain of the jr high cheerleading team, because fencing with Jeff was even more worthwhile. Jeff’s investment as a coach, surrogate father, role model and friend made a big difference for me.

His impact has been enduring—-the ripple effects continue to be felt. Fencing enhanced my opportunity to receive a good education, and provided me a great fencing community, which helped support me in my transition toadulthood. My first personal connections with physicians and health

professionals, my first college job, my first professional job as a research assistant, and my first blind date–to my husband David –all resulted from connections I made through the fencing world. Now I have the pleasure of beginning to share this wonderful sport with my two children Elena and

Ben.My gratitude cannot be amply expressed.

I remember Jeff most fondly for his humor and wisdom, his mistakes (and there were very few) and his humanity. Jeff is a coach par excellence and a Mensch!

Lisa Piazza, MD