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Community Champion: Fencing coach from Las Cruces leads one of the nation’s best teams

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Jerry Duffey certainly loves his job because it involves the two things he loves to do, teach and fence.

While most athletes learn a sport at an early age, Duffey didn't learn how to fence until he entered college.

Duffey was born and raised in Las Cruces and graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1987.

While attending Drew University in Madison, New Jersey Duffey joined the fencing team, even though he never fenced before.

"It is pretty cool to have permission to hit somebody with a steel sword and not get in trouble," Duffey said. "But with the understanding that they're going to do the same thing to you."

Duffey stayed in the Garden State where he became the head fencing coach at Chatham High School located Morris County, New Jersey.

Definitely a long way home from the City of the Crosses.

But it was the opportunity to teach young teenagers the sport of fencing that attracted Duffey to the job.

"When you give 50 high school kids three feet of steal to play with, it gets very exciting, very quickly," Duffey said.

And what make the experience even more exciting is when championships are involved.

Entering his 6th season at Chatham High School, the school is ranked as the number one fencing school in the country at the high school level.

Several of Duffey's students have won state and national titles, and many of them go on fence in college.

But it's not all about winning for Duffey.

"Winning isn't everything, but acting like you intend to win and be the champion, and that you intend to win is," Duffey said.

In 2018, Duffey suffered a heart attack, but he says his involvement with fencing is what allowed him to recover quickly.

And while he appreciates winning fencing championships at Chatham, the biggest victory is the life lessons he gets to teach his students.

For his accomplishments, Duffey has been named a Community Champion.

Community Champions is sponsored by Albertsons and the El Paso Community Foundation.

Community Champions / High School Sports / New Mexico / New Mexico Sports / Video

Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


1 Comment

  1. Get it on, cacheton! Great Job Coach!. Teach them kids. Take them to the highest they can go. I don’t care about the fencing. But I certainly care about the great teaching to these kids. See you at the championships. Great bunch of kids. We need more of them seeking greatness, not burning private property. Great Job again!

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