2014 NCAA Men's and Women's Fencing Championships, March 21 to 23
Nick Toth Opener -Junior Men's competitions recap
Head coach Abdel Salem has been at the helm of the U.S. Air Force Academy's (USAFA) men and women's fencing program since 1998. A former Olympian, he is also a 1980 graduate of the University of Alexandria, Egypt, and holds a doctorate in medicine. After graduating from Alexandria and during his Olympic efforts, Salem was a practicing general physician in Egypt for four years. He was also a 10-year member of the Egyptian National Fencing team and competed in the 1984 Olympics. In 1996, Salem was named the U.S. Olympic Committee's Fencing Coach of the Year.
From 2002-2005, the Falcons won four consecutive Western Region Championship women's titles. The men's teams were region champions in 2002 and 2003. In 2003, Elia Burrill was the NCAA Woman of the Year (Colorado) and was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. In 2008, Eliza Enyart was the independent nominee for the NCAA's 18th Annual Woman of the Year Award for 2007-2008. In 2008, Peter French was honored as the Mountain West Conference Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award and NCAA Sportsmanship Award honoree; Daniel Trapani was awarded the MW Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award for 2010-2011. Dalton Boatright was honored the MW Hall Rothman Sportsmanship Award for 2011-2012.
Since his arrival in 1998, Salem has coached 10 Air Force fencers to a total of 17 All-American titles. In 2003, Seth Kelsey was the NCAA men's epee national champion and Tim French earned All-America honors in epee. In 2010, Peter French earned All-American honors as the NCAA's men's epee runner-up, and Simone Barrette was an All-American in epee. In 2011, both Trapani and freshman Daniel Cohen were All-Americans. Alexander Chiang earned All-America honors in 2012. In 2014, freshman Alyssa Hofilena earned NCAA All-American honorable mention honors after finished 11th in women's saber. The Falcons have appeared at the NCAA Championships each year Salem has been coaching at Air Force.
He also coached several fencers to the NCAA Championship Final Four, to include first place. "I feel lucky to live and work at the United States Air Force Academy in beautiful Colorado," said Coach Salem. "Colorado Springs is a moderately-sized town in the shadow of Pikes Peak, the inspiration for America the Beautiful."
Before coming to the Academy, Salem was the head coach at the Lone Star Fencing Center in Dallas, Texas. He founded the center in 1989 and developed fencers from the novice skill level to the advanced competitor, including United States National Team members. During his time at Lone Star, Salem was also the fencing coach for the St. Mark's School in Dallas.
Salem taught fencing courses at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania from 1987-1989. His first head coaching position was at the Fairmont Park Fencing Center in Philadelphia. As head coach at the club from 1987-1989, Salem taught U.S. Olympic and World Team members. The club took the U.S. Foil Team Championship title. He was also assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania from 1986-1988.
Salem has been a coach at five U.S. Olympic Sports Festivals and has been involved with many U.S. National Teams. Between 1993 and 2005, he was a staff member of the U.S. Fencing Coaches College. He has also served as coach for the World Military Games. Salem's coaching career in the United States began in 1984 at the Westside Fencing Center in Los Angeles. In 1986, he moved to the Salle Csiszar Fencing Center in Philadelphia, where he coached the winning U.S. Women's Epee Championship team.
Salem has been a member of the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association's Certification and Accreditation Board. He is currently the USFCA president.