Ryerson fencers play a game of ‘Where’s Eugene?’

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By Sheila Gifford

Forget about playing Where’s Waldo?, Ryerson’s missing man is Eugene Mirkin.

Last summer, Mirkin and his father, Ioseph, were hired to be coaches of Ryerson’s fencing team.

“Eugene’s father was the ticket,” said Mathies, referring to Ioseph’s extensive coaching experience. Iosheph has coached world and Olympic champions in Russia. He moved to Canada to coach almost two years ago.

While Ioseph is more than qualified to coach the fencing team on his own, there was one major obstacle — he doesn’t speak any English. Ioseph’s son was supposed to act as an interpreter as well as coach. Mirkin has an excellent knowledge of fencing and has been practicing with his father since he was a child.

“I was willing to work with it,” said Chuck Mathies, assistant director of athletics, referring to the two coach arrangement. But none of Ryerson’s fencers have seen or heard from Eugene.

Iosheph, an internationally certified coach, has been coaching the team along with Peter Pavolotsky, who’s been filling in for Mirkin. Ioseph said his son decided to stay home with his family instead of coaching at Ryerson.

“He has a new baby and a [demanding] job,” said Ioseph, “But next year there is better chance [of Eugene coaching].”

Though Ioseph is unable to coach with is son this year, he has brought Ryerson’s fencing team to new heights. Three individual fencers and two foil teams will represent Ryerson at the OUA finals at Royal Military College on Feb. 14 and 15. Karen Parsons advanced after finishing first in women’s foil in the OUA West. Simon Racioppa placed third in men’s foil and Mark Peros finished second in men’s epee to advance to the finals. The women’s and men’s foil teams both finished third to capture a birth in the finals.

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