Ken took on the coaching role at Brock and laid the foundation for the program that still exists today. He was a young coach who with his friendly and inviting attitude made practices fun and productive. Ken had great coaching instincts and showed his coaching genius by knowing how to motivate to get the most out of his fencers. He led by example. He invented footwork games that were fun and his blade work drills had “real-life” competitive applications. He would fence anyone at any level (he always won). He was by far a superior fencer and the quality of his skills was evident. Since most of his team had never fenced before he had to nurture brand spanking new fencers and challenge the more experienced. He realized that the fencers who were workers and who had trained hard were just as important as the super stars. He was able to get his fencers excited and ready to compete. The sheer force of his energetic, positive and fun-loving personality helped his fencers reach their potential.
It was soon became apparent that it was not only his technical skills that were superior but he was a master of tactics. Not only did Ken understand the game but he also took the time to make sure his fencers understood the tactics and strategies that were needed for success. He created a handout entitled “Ken’s Tried and True Tournament Tips” It was full of practical suggestions. This hint sheet has stood the test of time and is still routinely handed out to Brock fencers.
He believed in excellence. When he noticed the fencing team did not have a most valuable player award he decided to create one. No regular trophy for him. The famous sword in the stone trophy that is in the display cabinets was created by him for his fencers. This unconventional trophy is a true test to athleticism. You need to have muscles to lift it. He got a great laugh at the awards banquets watching the presenters trying to lift it with grace and dignity and almost succeeding.
Ken gave an inordinate amount of his time to the team. The fencing team had a long and busy competition schedule. All competitions were on weekends and the men’s and women’s teams fenced on different weekends. Ken was there to support them and often he was also the driver and equipment manager.
But Ken was not all work and no play. He firmly believed in team building. There were always get togethers at his home. Ken and Ginny hosted many barbecues and suppers and the team parties were full of laughter and good times. His Porkchop Supreme recipe was a team favourite. Although Ken decided to give up his coaching responsibilities he left a strong legacy. He created a program and developed a team culture that is reminiscence of the principle suggested by John Taylor “We teach people correct principles and let them govern themselves” Brock fencers and the Brock Fencing program are highly regarded in the fencing world. They are a skilled, motivated, fun-loving and independent group.