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Matthew Simmons

Vice Chairperson, 2021-present


1. Why are you applying for a leadership position in the Gold Coast Florida Fencing Division?

  • Perhaps my experience might be of use to the Division.  I fenced epee at Harvard College from 1973-1977 and was co-captain my senior year.  After that I took a quarter century break.  Since about 2002, I have fenced at various clubs in the Gold Coast Division, including with Mike Elder, Max Tack-Fong, Mario Jelev, and for the past about ten years with Junior Morales at Epee Miami Fencing Club.  My competitive experience includes the Ivy League, the NCAA Championships, the now-defunct IFA (Intercollegiate Fencing Association aka Eastern) Championships, National Championships, including from when USA Fencing was the AFLA (Amateur Fencer’s League of America), many NACs, many Sunshine State Games, many local tournaments, and in 2022, the Pan Am Youth and Veteran Championships in Lima, Peru.

2. What do you envision as the top-3 priorities for Gold Coast Florida Fencing Division, why, and how would you implement those priorities?

  • My priority would be to keep fencing healthy in South Florida.  How to do this?  I don’t claim to know the answer, but it involves encouraging people to fence, rewarding good coaches, and having a sensible, strong tournament schedule.

3. What involvement have you had in Gold Coast Florida Fencing Division, and/or what involvement have you had in any other organizations that might be relevant to this role? 

  • See Items 1 and 4.

4. Please provide a description of your previous board experience. Please detail the achievements of that board and your direct role in those achievements. If you intend to apply for the role of Vice Chair, please provide a description of your experience preparing or supervising books and records of an entity, related to the sport of fencing or otherwise.

  • I was on the board of the Miami Fencing Club for several years.

5. If you are applying for the role of Vice chairperson, given the chairperson’s role as an ambassador to USFA and regional leadership on behalf of the division, please comment on your relationships and how you envision you would fulfill this responsibility of the role?

  • I have no ambition to be Chairman of the division, but since I am vice-chairman running for re-election, note that because I have fenced for more than 20 years in the Gold Coast Division, I know many of the coaches and fencers.  Also, in 2022, I nominated my college coach, Branimir Zivkovic, to the USA Fencing Hall of Fame.  Zivkovic, who was also a champion fencer, developed the aluminum strips first used in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and now standard for national and FIE competition.  He also ran Zivkovic Modern Fencing Equipment.  During the process that resulted in his election, I interfaced with relevant USA Fencing and Hall of Fame Committee officials.

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