In a Friday, Feb. 5 press release, the North Haven High School Athletic Department announced the appointment of James Harris as the new head coach for the NHHS fencing program.
Harris, a two-time monogram winner and former captain of the University of Notre Dame fencing team, took over as head coach at North Haven High School in 2001. During his seven-year stint with the Indian fencers, North Haven student-athletes earned 22 All-State awards, five team championships, two individual titles and three runner-up finishes.
Harris spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach for the Morgan School in Clinton.
Harris is a founding member of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, representing fencing, and was previously the owner of the ICONN Fencing Club in Wallingford.
“Coach Harris brings a wealth of coaching experience and knowledge about fencing to the North Haven High School Fencing Program,” NHHS Athletic Director Steve Blumenthal stated. “Additionally, he very much enjoys working with students and developing a team culture. We are very excited to have Coach Harris back at North Haven.”
According to Wikipedia, fencing was once part of many schools' physical education curriculum, and many schools had clubs and would compete in inter-school tournaments. In the second half of the 20th century, fencing gradually faded from physical education curricula in the United States. This has been attributed to worries about “weapons in schools,” or that it requires expensive equipment. Fencers dispute the characterization of fencing foils as weapons since they fail to meet the applicable criteria – a tool of injury or destruction – since foils are engineered specifically to contact the human body without injury.
In Connecticut, high school fencing takes place during the winter season.