Buckie Leach, US Olympic Fencing Coach, Dead at 62

Anthony “Buckie” Leach, Team USA fencing coach, died on Saturday in a motorcycle accident, USA Fencing confirmed on Monday. He was 62 years old. Leach also worked as an assistant coach at Notre Dame for five seasons, starting in 2016. He coached the U.S. Women’s Foil team at five Olympics, including 1996, 2000, 2004, 2016 and 2020.

“I am devastated to learn of the tragic passing of my dear friend Buckie Leach, who was taken from us far too soon,” Notre Dame head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said in a statement. “Buckie’s legacy at Notre Dame and within American fencing stretch far beyond the athletic accomplishments of the fencers and teams that he coached.

“Rather, his enduring memory will be of the incredible person that he was – his kindness, his passion, his sense of humor, and the genuine way he brightened the lives of everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.” Along with his work in the Olympics, Leach led the U.S. Women’s Foil team to four Senior World Championship team medals including the gold in 2018. And during his time at Notre Dame, Leached helped the team win three national champions and five individual foil championships.

“Our hearts are broken at the loss of U.S. Women’s Foil Team coach Buckie Leach just two weeks after leading the squad at his fifth Olympic Games,” USA Fencing wrote in an Instagram post. “A 2013 inductee into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame, Buckie passed away on Saturday night following a motorcycle accident on a cross-country road trip after his return from the Tokyo Olympic Games. …Our thoughts are with Buckie’s family as well as the entire fencing community.”

Leach was also a successful club coach. From 1981-2001, Leach built the Rochester (New York) Fencing Centre into one of the best in the country. In 2001, Leach moved to New York City to work at the Fencers Club to help develop more talent.

“The Notre Dame Fencing Family is heartbroken over the tragic passing of Buckie Leach,” the Notre Dame fencing team said in a statement. “Buckie was our coach for five wonderful seasons. In that short time, he helped us win three NCAA team titles, three ACC team titles, five individual NCAA championships and 20 All-Americans. But more important than all of these was how Buckie gave so richly and deeply of himself as a teacher, a coach, a leader, and a person. Every day he was with us, his kindness, decency, and humanity made us all better.”

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