Michael Aufrichtig was named Head Men and Women’s Fencing Coach at Columbia in June 2011. He had previously served as the Chairman of the New York Athletic Club Fencing program for the previous five years.
In his fourth season, Aufrichtig led Columbia to great success as the season culminated with the Lions as 2015 NCAA National Champions. Columbia’s first national championship under the guidance of Aufrichtig is the program’s 14th and first since 1993. A team national title was not the only championship that Columbia left Columbus with as Jake Hoyle captured the men’s epee title, Margaret Lu was the women’s foil runner-up and Brian Ro earned the bronze medal in men’s epee. The Lions’ journey to the national championship began with 12 student-athletes qualifying, the most qualifiers for the program since 2008. Additionally, nine Lions garnered All-American honors, the most for the program since 2007.
For the first time in both program and Ivy League history, the men’s and women’s teams were ranked No. 1 simultaneously, a feat that had not been accomplished by any program since 2012.
Aufrichtig’s program was also dominant against Ancient Eight foes. Both the men’s and the women’s teams won Ivy League titles for the first time since 2008. This was the second straight Ivy League Championship for the men, while the women secured their first title since 2008. Additionally, the women’s team set a new program record for wins, 26-1, finishing the season on a 21-match win streak. 12 Lions earned All-Ivy League honors, led by Aufrichtig, the Ivy League Co-Women’s Coach of the Year.
Columbia saw the men’s team hoist the Ivy League trophy in 2013-14 as the Lions’ men finished first at the Round-Robins and 29-3 overall, while the women posted a third place showing against Ancient Eight foes and finished 24-3 overall. For their efforts agains the Ivies, six men and three women garnered All-Ivy League status.
Aufrightig’s third campaign also saw the men’s squad atop the national rankings for the first time in program history. At NCAAs, Columbia finished seventh for the second consecutive year and four Lions picked up All-American honors.
Aufrichtig was voted the Elite Coach Director for USA Fencing in June, 2014.
Aufrichtig’s second season included second place finishes by both the men’s and women’s teams at the Ivy League Championships. Five men and seven women earned All-Ivy League honors for the 2012-13 season.
The 2013 NCAA Championships concluded with a seventh-place finish for the Lions, alongside an individual silver-medal finish from Jackie Dubrovich and five All-American honorees.
In his first year at the helm, Aufrichtig revitalized Columbia's fencing program. In 2012, the Lion men had their best finish at the Ivy League Championships in four years and the women finished just one win away from taking home the league title.
At the Ivy League Championships, Will Spear '15CC was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet on the men's side and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Spear was one of five All-Americans for Columbia in 2011-12, including national runner-up Alen Hadzic '14CC in men's epee.
Another newcomer, Michael Josephs '15CC made third team All-American in men's sabre. Sammy Roberts '12SEAS battled through injuries to make third team All-American and Lydia Kopecky '13CC gained second team All-America honors in women's epee.
As the Director of the NYAC Fencing Program, Aufrichtig managed the coaching staff, budgets, practice times, travel arrangements and recruiting of the 55 athletes that compete with NYAC Fencing. He founded the NYAC Men’s Epee High School Invitational in 2001, the strongest men’s epee high school competition in the United States. He also served as the 2009 Women’s Epee coach at the World Championships in Antalya, Turkey.
During his five-year tenure with the NYAC, the NYAC Fencing program had unprecedented success. At the 2011 National Championships, the NYAC won five national championships, three silver medals and two bronze. In 2010, NYAC qualified seven members to the World Championships, more than any other program.
“I’m honored to be the new head men and women’s fencing coach at Columbia University,” said Aufrichtig. “I look forward to continuing the rich success of Columbia Fencing and expanding the Columbia Fencing community. This is truly a dream come true.”
Aufrichtig fenced at NYU, and graduated the Stern School of Business in 1994. He worked as a senior account executive at Advanced Solutions International from 2007, while also serving as Chairman of the NYAC Fencing program. From 2001-2006, he worked for Kintera, Inc. in enterprise sales. Aufrichtig also worked for Blade Fencing Equipment, Inc. from 1993-2000.