LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is pleased to announce that Juan Ignacio Calderon has been named head coach of the men's and women's fencing program. The announcement was made Tuesday by Director of Athletics Earl Edwards.
With 36 years of international experience across his native Spain, Germany, and the United States, Calderon has touched all aspects of fencing as a competitor, coach, referee, federation official, and tournament organizer.
"We are very excited to welcome Juan Ignacio back this season in a head coaching role," said Edwards. "UC San Diego fencing has been successful for quite some time and his extensive experience, coupled with his knowledge of our program, will enable us to continue building on that."
Calderon spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach at UC San Diego, primarily working with the team's epeeists. He helped three Tritons qualify for the NCAA Championships in the weapon with Zach Kravitz placing 15th, Emma Zmurk 17th, and Emily Beihold 20th. UC San Diego placed 14th of 27 teams.
"I'm truly honored to be the new head coach for the fencing team," said Calderon, who attained Prevost certification in all weapons (epee, foil, sabre) from the Spanish Fencing Masters Academy in 1989. "We want to mirror those schools that not only are recruiting great fencers but are also helping [them] to excel academically [and] keep improving as fencers."
Calderon began collaborating with the San Diego Fencing Center in 2011, where he currently serves as manager and a three-weapon coach. In addition, he was the Chairman of USA Fencing's San Diego Division for the last two years.
In 2016, Calderon founded the Global Fencing Network, a non-profit that fosters collaboration between fencing clubs. Currently, it includes 200 clubs enrolled across 40 countries.
Between 1982 and 1991, Calderon coached in Spain at Club de Esgrima de Madrid as well as Sala de Armas de Madrid, considered the top club in the country. He was also a World Cup referee and the head of the Madrid Fencing Federation's referee commission for two years.
As a competitive fencer in Spain, Calderon was a two-time National Junior Team champion and the Spanish Military champion. At the Senior level, he was ranked among the top-10 for four-straight years.
"I have an international background, primarily in Europe in several countries, and I think that brings more opportunities to make our program more international, to welcome more international fencers into our program and make it more diverse, more inclusive, and more competitive," said Calderon.
An NCAA Division II institution since the 2000-01 academic year, UC San Diego will begin a four-year transition to NCAA Division I status in the fall of 2020.
"Overall, we'll become a much more attractive school for fencing," Calderon said about the move. "That's going to open opportunities, it's going to make us more attractive for recruiting."
A 1992 graduate of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Calderon earned a degree in Marketing and Business Administration. He held several executive positions at a large technology company over a 20-year span before deciding to focus on fencing full-time.
Calderon takes over for Heidi Runyan, who retired in 2018 after 14 years leading the Tritons.