Dec. 18, 2002
Zoltan Dudas formally has joined the Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing staff as an assistant coach, head coach Janusz Bednarski announced today. Dudas – who had served in a consultant role with the Irish fencing program since January – fills the spot on the coaching staff formerly held by Bednarski, who was promoted to head coach following the retirement of Yves Auriol at the end of 2002 season.
A respected coach with particular experience in foil and epee, Dudas has tutored several elite fencers during his 16-year career – in his native Hungary and most recently in the Midwest. The 35-year-old Dudas played a key role in instructing several 2002 Notre Dame All-Americans and serves as a perfect complement to Bednarski, one of the nation’s premier sabre instructors.
“Zoltan is an excellent coach and an experienced instructor who has the double skill of being able to coach two weapons at a very high level,” says Bednarski, who served as an assistant with the Irish from 1995-2002.
“He is a very nice man but also is a hard worker who knows how to deal with a variety of personalities. He is able to modify his technique to meet individual styles and basically is a high-class coach who can take any type of fencer and push them to a high level.”
Dudas – who received a 1997 Outstanding Coach Award from the Hungary Fencing Association – moved to the U.S. in 2000 and served two years as a coach at Cleveland’s Saturn Fencing Center, where he helped mold current Notre Dame sophomore Andrea Ament (the 2002 NCAA foil runner-up) into a world-class foilist and epeeist. Dudas, who also now serves as a coach at the Indiana Fencing Academy, has seen five of his SFC and IFA epeeists post top finishes, including Anne Kercsmar’s bronze at the 2000 (youth 14) and 2001 (junior) Nationals and cadet epeeist Greg Howard’s bronze at the 2002 Junior Olympics. Four of his fencers, plus two IFA women’s epee teams, also posted top finishes at the 2002 Summer Nationals.
He earlier tutored several fencers in Hungary who excelled at national tournaments – highlighted by men’s foilist Akos Marinki’s bronze at the 1997 under-15 National Championship. Dudas also coached his under-20 men’s foil team (fifth) and under-15 women’s foil squad (fourth) to impressive finishes at the 1999 Nationals.
After graduating in 1992 with degrees in geography and physical education from Juhasz Gyula Teachers Training College in Szeged, Hungary, Dudas received a 1996 postgraduate degree in physical education from Janus Pannonius University in Pecs, earning highest coaching qualifications in fencing and five other sports. He taught physical education on the elementary and high school levels, including a seven-year stint (1993-2000) at Szechenyi Istvan High School – where his men’s team handball squad won the 1999 national title.
Dudas participated in a 1988 weekly apprenticeship with legendary fencing master Bela Bay and attended 1997 and ’98 nine-day training camps in Szombathely, with coaches hailing from 10 countries. At a 1999 training camp in Veszprem, moderated by top fencing masters, Dudas had the honor to demonstrate actions with Szabo Bence, the 1988 Olympic sabre champion.
An accomplished junior fencer in foil and epee, Dudas finished second in epee at the 1984 international Steaua Cup in Romania. He went on to place third at the 1987 Senior Provincial Championship and was a member of the epee team that won the 1988 Division II National Championship (he also fenced with the silver-medal sabre team). Dudas was honored for his sportsmanship as a 1988 recipient of the National Fair Play Award.
Dudas – who has published two in-depth articles on fencing technique and instruction – and his wife Ildiko were married in 2001. The couple resides in Mishawaka with their newborn daughter Lili.