About our Coaches
Coaches: Ron Hendricks, Kenny Nopens, Martin Gravis, and Scott Whitesides
We have had the privilege of coaching thousands of kids and hundreds of adults in the sport of fencing over our 37- year history of Wasatch Fencing. We truly strive to provide a healthy environment where all our members can develop respect for each other while learning the dedication it takes to better themselves as competitive fencers. We hope this experience plays a small part in helping our members lead healthier, happier and productive lives.
Oh, yes, we aren’t bad at teaching and coaching fencing either with our share of fencers achieving local, regional, national and international top finishes along with going on to fence with major NCAA fencing programs including Duke University, Princeton University, Sanford University, Drew University, Notre Dame University the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Naval Academy, Dartmouth University, MIT and the University of California San Diego.
|Kenny Nopens – Head Coach
Kenny began fencing while a student at Central Washington University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. As he was looking for ways to better his own fencing skills and understanding, he attended Coaches College in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center. After a few sessions, he became focused on learning all he could about the sport and how to help others. With a move to Utah in 2002 he continued to fence and taught at local clubs and community centers.
Three of Kenny’s fencers have competed with World Championship teams, with Dylan Nollner finishing 10th in the world in 2012 and Tatijana Stewart taking the silver individual and gold team medal in 2016. Kenny is proud of the students that he has coached and proud of the adults that they grow to become.
Ron Hendricks – Head Coach, Founder
It wasn’t until his mother made him sign up for “one more” credit as a freshman at Utah State University that Ron got exposed to the sport of Fencing. After the first class, Ron joined the fencing club and has had a passion for the sport ever since. That summer Ron fenced under the tutelage of Master Mel North in Denver, Colorado where he gained a solid understanding of the sport’s foundational strategies and tactics. By his junior year, Ron was teaching all of USU’s fencing classes along with taking over the coaching responsibilities for USU’s club.
In 1983, Ron established Wasatch Fencing, which has produced numerous local, regional, national and international fencers over its 37+ year history. His wife, Sheree Josephson, points out that it is less about fencing with Ron, and more about giving kids the opportunity to develop respect for others, develop a strong work ethic, build self-esteem and create a healthy attitude toward life.
Martin Gravis – Assistant Coach
Like most fencing clubs, Wasatch Fencing depends heavily on volunteers to help assure the club provides a welcoming, safe, and meaningful experience for youth and adult participants. While Martin Gravis is usually in his law office or in a courtroom as a public defender in Weber County, Utah he also can be found at the Wasatch Fencing Club in Kaysville volunteering as a coach and armorer.
Martin has been the club’s anchor volunteer for over 15 years. His interest in fencing started when his son started fencing. Soon after that, Martin became the club armorer and started helping out with coaching kids. After a few years, Martin also found himself competing in local tournaments and in national veteran events.
What is most impressive about Martin is his ability to experience the pure joy of fencing as a coach and fencer. Martin truly enjoys every aspect of the sport and that infects every fencer and parent associated with our club.
Scott Whitesides – Assistant Coach
Many, many years ago Ron taught Scott how to fence. Now both his daughters are training and becoming accomplished fencers at Wasatch Fencing. Since they started Scott has been volunteering his time and developing his coaching skills. We are grateful to have him help out with instruction and coaching at our club. In addition, Scott continues to compete in local and national level veteran events.