Michael Aufrichtig was named Head Men and Women's Fencing Coach at Columbia in June 2011. He had previously served as the Chairman of the New York Athletic Club Fencing program for the previous five years.
Aufrichtig propeled Columbia Fencing to it's first NCAA championship in 22 years in 2015, and led the Lions to a consecutive title in 2016. He also restored Columbia to dominance in the Ivy League, with the men's team having won four consecutive Ivy League titles to date (2014-17). The women's squad won back-to-back Ivy League titles in 2015 and 2016.
In the 2016-17 season, Aufrichtig led the Lions to a third place finish at NCAA Championships. The men's team captured their fourth consecutive Ivy League title, while the women came in second place. Columbia over-qualified for NCAA Championships, with 18 fencers eligible to fill the maximum of 12 qualifiers. At the NCAA Championships, six Lions were named All-Americans, including three first team members, one second-team nod, and two honorable mention. Both Nolen Scruggs and Margaret Lu made it to the individual foil Final Four, with Scruggs taking home silver and Lu finishing with a bronze.
The men's and women's team did finish the 2017 regular season ranked No. 1 in the country in the CollegeFencing360 coaches poll.
The men's team (25-6) continued their strong hold on the Ivy league capturing their fourth straight Ivy title at the 2017 Ivy League Championships in February. Columbia shared the title with Penn and Princeton, who all finished 4-1, marking the second straight year in which the title was shared between three schools. Nolen Scruggs was named First-team All-Ivy and Gabe Canaux earned a second-team nod.
The women's squad had a stellar 2017 regular season, finishing with a 31-2 clip. Both losses against Princeton - one of which was the deciding factor standing between Columbia and the Ivy League title. The Lions finished second in the Ivy league, with four first-team All-Ivy selections including Margaret Lu who was named Women's Foil individual champion.
Aufrichtig led the Lions to their second-straight NCAA National Championship in 2015-16 while guiding Jake Hoyle to his second consecutive NCAA individual title in men's epee to round out his collegiate career. With the maximum 12 fencers qualified for the national championship, the Lions were able to take home 10 All-Americans, including four first team selections and three second team honors.
The men's team went on to finish as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, marking the ninth time in program history and sixth-straight poll, while the women's team ended the year ranked second overall.
Columbia also retained the top spot in the Ivy League in 2016, forcing a three-way tie for first in both the men's and women's side for the first time since 1999. For the men, the Ancient Eight title marked the third straight year the Lions were at the top of the podium while the women picked up their second-straight title.
Leading the way was senior Jackie Dubrovich who was crowned the Ivy League Women's Foil champion after a dominating 18-0 performance at the Ivy League Round-Robins. Dubrovich rounded out her senior year with an impressive 99-4 overall record while claiming gold at the NCAA Northeast Regional and a silver at the NCAA Championships in women's foil.
In his fourth season, Aufrichtig led Columbia to great success as the season culminated with the Lions as 2015 NCAA National Champions. Columbia's first national championship under the guidance of Aufrichtig is the program's 14th and first since 1993. A team national title was not the only championship that Columbia left Columbus with as Jake Hoyle captured the men's epee title, Margaret Lu was the women's foil runner-up and Brian Ro earned the bronze medal in men's epee. The Lions' journey to the national championship began with 12 student-athletes qualifying, the most qualifiers for the program since 2008. Additionally, nine Lions garnered All-American honors, the most for the program since 2007.
For the first time in both program and Ivy League history, the men's and women's teams were ranked No. 1 simultaneously, a feat that had not been accomplished by any program since 2012.
Aufrichtig's program was also dominant against Ancient Eight foes. Both the men's and the women's teams won Ivy League titles for the first time since 2008. This was the second straight Ivy League Championship for the men, while the women secured their first title since 2008. Additionally, the women's team set a new program record for wins, 26-1, finishing the season on a 21-match win streak. 12 Lions earned All-Ivy League honors, led by Aufrichtig, the Ivy League Co-Women's Coach of the Year.
Columbia saw the men's team hoist the Ivy League trophy in 2013-14 as the Lions' men finished first at the Round-Robins and 29-3 overall, while the women posted a third place showing against Ancient Eight foes and finished 24-3 overall. For their efforts agains the Ivies, six men and three women garnered All-Ivy League status.
Aufrightig's third campaign also saw the men's squad atop the national rankings for the first time in program history. At NCAAs, Columbia finished seventh for the second consecutive year and four Lions picked up All-American honors.
Aufrichtig was voted the Elite Coach Director for USA Fencing in June, 2014.
Aufrichtig's second season included second place finishes by both the men's and women's teams at the Ivy League Championships. Five men and seven women earned All-Ivy League honors for the 2012-13 season.
The 2013 NCAA Championships concluded with a seventh-place finish for the Lions, alongside an individual silver-medal finish from Jackie Dubrovich and five All-American honorees.
In his first year at the helm, Aufrichtig revitalized Columbia's fencing program. In 2012, the Lion men had their best finish at the Ivy League Championships in four years and the women finished just one win away from taking home the league title.
At the Ivy League Championships, Will Spear '15CC was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the Meet on the men's side and the Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Spear was one of five All-Americans for Columbia in 2011-12, including national runner-up Alen Hadzic '14CC in men's epee.
Another newcomer, Michael Josephs '15CC made third team All-American in men's sabre. Sammy Roberts '12SEAS battled through injuries to make third team All-American and Lydia Kopecky '13CC gained second team All-America honors in women's epee.
As the Director of the NYAC Fencing Program, Aufrichtig managed the coaching staff, budgets, practice times, travel arrangements and recruiting of the 55 athletes that compete with NYAC Fencing. He founded the NYAC Men's Epee High School Invitational in 2001, the strongest men's epee high school competition in the United States. He also served as the 2009 Women's Epee coach at the World Championships in Antalya, Turkey.
During his five-year tenure with the NYAC, the NYAC Fencing program had unprecedented success. At the 2011 National Championships, the NYAC won five national championships, three silver medals and two bronze. In 2010, NYAC qualified seven members to the World Championships, more than any other program.
“I'm honored to be the new head men and women's fencing coach at Columbia University,” said Aufrichtig. “I look forward to continuing the rich success of Columbia Fencing and expanding the Columbia Fencing community. This is truly a dream come true.”
Aufrichtig fenced at NYU, and graduated the Stern School of Business in 1994. He worked as a senior account executive at Advanced Solutions International from 2007, while also serving as Chairman of the NYAC Fencing program. From 2001-2006, he worked for Kintera, Inc. in enterprise sales. Aufrichtig also worked for Blade Fencing Equipment, Inc. from 1993-2000.