Our coaches have facilitated coach development across the country and led sport club business development, all while actively advancing our own skills and gaining national and international results alongside our students and their families. Winning is super fun for us, but we want more than to win. We want to bring out the best in each other and in each student while making our community stronger and more resilient.
Coach Jeff KALLIO is an accredited Master d’ Sabre with the United States Fencing Coaches Association and the Academie d’Armes Internationale. Jeff began fencing in 1998 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte fencing club. In 2000, Jeff began actively coaching at the college club as well as at other local area Charlotte fencing clubs in addition to competing at the national level. In 2005 Jeff began his professional coaching career at the Charlotte Fencing Academy, helping to establish the club as an entity in the fencing world and producing numerous national medalists and a few national champions as well as future NCAA athletes. Since moving to Durham in 2010, Jeff has served as our coach, manager, and youth development coordinator.
Coach Jeff’s philosophy is centered around helping facilitate personal growth for all his students by cultivating hard work and self reliance through the sport. He trains individual athletes in foil, épée, and saber as well as teaching a wide array of classes ranging from beginner through advanced.
Awards & Achievements:
- 2018 Awarded Fencing Masters Certification (Maitre de Sabre) by United States Fencing Coaches Association
- 2018 Cincinnati North American Cup Medalist (Gold Medal, Veteran 40 Men’s Saber)
- 2017 & 2018 Cadet National Team Singapore Member, Leanne Chan
- 2017 Veteran World Championship Team Member Carl Badger (Individual Bronze, Team Silver Medalist)
- 2017 Veteran World Championship Team USA Captain (Silver Medal)
- 2016 Veteran World Championship Team Member Carl Badger (Team Bronze Medalist)
- 2013 World Championship Team USA Member Mia Ives Rublee (Wheelchair Women’s Foil, Wheelchair Women’s Epee)
- 2013 Summer National Championships Medalist (8th Place finish, Division1A Men’s Saber)
- 2009 Summer National Championships Medalist (Bronze Medal, Division II Men’s Saber)
Chris LECLERCQ first saw fencing in the 1996 Olympics, but had to wait until he attended the University of Montana to start fencing. After university, he helped found Missoula Fencing Association, the first youth fencing organization in the state of Montana. While developing that program for 3 years, he received his Moniteur of Epee in 2012. The following year he moved to Portland, Oregon to work at Northwest Fencing Center under 3-time Olympian Cody Mattern. In Portland, he earned his Prevot of Epee and his Moniteur of Foil. Four years later, he moved back to Montana to support his former club. In 2019, he moved to Mid-South Fencers’ Club. Chris and Coach Jen met at the 2018 Coaches Academy in Las Vegas, where they learned each other’s approaches to coaching were similar. At Mid-South you can find Chris teaching the youth Academy Program, building a budding epee team, teaching beginner classes and camps, while tinkering in the armory. Chris’ coaching philosophy is that any student can be successful; his job is to provide tools and a path to help the student find that success. When Chris is not fencing, he enjoys Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, woodworking, cycling, and cooking experimental desserts.
Beginning as a teen at the North Carolina Fencing Development Program, Mike NICHOLSON is the quintessential North Carolina fencer, and he loves to ‘flick’! To watch Mike is to believe he’s the closest walking version of the legendary coach Ron Miller. Mike focuses on foil, having been an NCAA fencer at Carolina from 1996-2001, turning to assistant coaching in 2001-2005. He brings humor and love of the sport to us every Watch Session gathering and is working primarily behind the scenes for tech support for the 2020-2021 season. He is also our web-tech expert. We greatly appreciate his service to our community daily.
Jennifer OLDHAM has been accredited as a 3-weapon Fencing Master by the United States Fencing Coaches Association and the Academie D’Armes Internationale since 2009. She was awarded a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lewis and Clark College in 2004, her undergraduate degree having come from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996, where her fencing career began in college. Coach Jen was one of the many students produced by legendary North Carolina Coach Ron Miller who went on to develop in the sport fencing world outside the NCAA. Post-NCAA, Oldham began her coaching development at the United States Olympic Training Center under the leadership of Alex Beguinet, the Head Coach at Duke University. While training in Colorado, she met Ed Korfanty, who was just getting started in Portland, Oregon before eventually being named a Team USA National Coach while developing Olympians Zagunis and Ward. In Oregon, Oldham coached and guided many National Team Members and World Champions, playing a dual role as Korfanty’s student and assistant coach while attending graduate school and working on her thesis about the benefits of competition in fencing. Her passion for understanding how competition affects society can be observed in the intentionality of Mid-South’s programing, which supports group and individual striving within the matrix of each person’s development. After her tenure in Oregon (and Mariel Zagunis’ first Olympic Gold!), Oldham decided to return to North Carolina to expand fencing in her home state. She partnered with a small fencing club housed at the Duke Faculty Club, led by Ned Light. While raising her children, she sought out and began to collect and build a community committed to upholding the benefits of a competitive sport program beneficial to all of North Carolina fencing. Since the founding of the Mid-South Fencers’ Club, Inc. the club has grown from 16 members to its pre-pandemic peak of over 150 competitive and recreational athletes.
Awards and achievements:
- Co-Founder of WFencing (2020)
- Designated USA Coach for Cadet Women’s Saber (Bulgaria 2019, 2020)
- Designated USA Coach for Cadet Women’s Saber, 1st and 2nd finishes (Bulgaria 2018)
- USA Fencing Club of Distinction Award in Women’s Programming and Diversity (2018)
- Head Coach to 100+ national and 7 international medal count (2006-current)
- Ranked among “Best Fencing Clubs” within 600 USA Fencing Member clubs by the National Fencing Club Rankings (NFCR) (2015, 2016, 2017; no 2018 rankings reported)
- Named Durham Magazine Extraordinary Woman (June/July 2013)
- Triangle Business Journal Women in Business Award Winner (2013)
- Triangle Mover and Shaker Business Leader Award Winner (2011)
- United States Women’s Saber National Team Division I Champion (2000)
- Nationally ranked Division I Women’s Saber Athlete (2000-2003)
- Top 16 and top 32 International World Cup finishes (2000-2002)
- Bronze United States Women’s Sabre Team World Cup Finish (ITA) 2000
- Multi-time finalist at Open North American Cup Competitions (2000-2002)
- Monogram Award Winner University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1994-1996)
Stephen PASHBY started fencing with Chris Pullo at Seacoast Fencers Club in Manchester, NH, later fencing and coaching at the North Carolina State Fencing Club as well as the former Raleigh Fencer’s Club. He is the fencing instructor at Meredith and Peace Colleges, holding a Level I Epée Certificate from the USFA Coaches College. Stephen is a nationally certified referee in all three weapons and instructs all three weapons, though foil remains his true passion.
Cathleen RANDALL has returned to North Carolina after many years away, and is thrilled to be part of the Mid-South team. Cathleen began fencing at Duke and is our first Duke Fencing alumna! She led as a varsity team captain and became a Junior Olympian. Post graduation she taught while also head coaching high school teams at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School (MN) and Beaver Country Day School (MA) — then was an assistant coach for Concord-Carlisle High School (MA) and New Trier High School (IL) — for a total of 19 years, with individual state champions in foil and saber. She also served on Division and Section boards for USA Fencing. Cathleen holds coaching certification in epee (Level I) and foil (Level II) and as a referee in saber.
Cathleen competes on the national Veteran Women’s Saber circuit and looks forward to its return. Her achievement include bronze medals at the 2018 Richmond NAC, at the 2014 Nationals, and at the 2014 Pan-American Fencing Championships. She was a founding member of the first national Veteran Women’s Saber Team Champion – the Broadswords (2012). Along with Coach Jen, Cathleen is one of the co-founders of WFencing. She will be assisting the growth of saber and foil as a coach, and of the club as a team manager. Cathleen is coaching small group classes online and in-person, and gives one-on-one individual lessons.