Emmanuil Kaidanov

Obituary of Emmanuil Kaidanov

Emmanuil "Emik" Kaidanov, 83, of State College, died Friday, May 17, 2024, at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Born July 22, 1940, in Leningrad, Russia, he was the son of the late Gregory Emmanuil and Asia Kogan Kaidanov. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Izabella "Bela" Kaidanov. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Greg Kaidanov of Fairfax, VA.

Kaidanov, who came to the U.S. in 1979 from the Soviet Union, was a pioneering figure in American fencing. Kaidanov competed in the Soviet Union as a world-class fencer and served as a coach. He was a candidate for the U.S.S.R. National team in saber from 1958 to 1964. He served as the U.S. National Training Director and coached numerous national and international teams. His innovative methods and dedication to the sport left an indelible mark on the fencing community. He was a 2017 inductee into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame.

Emik graduated from the State College of Physical Education at Kharkov-USSR, where he earned a Master of Science in Physical Education, a Minor in Anatomy and Physiology, and a Master of the Sport of Fencing. His postgraduate studies include methods of teaching fencing, research methods, as well as sport and medical massage.

He was a fencing master and retired Head Coach of the Men's and Women's fencing teams at Penn State. Kaidanov was a fencing coach for over 40 years. Emik's influence on American fencing was vast as both a coach and as a facilitator who helped usher in a wave of Russian coaches to the United States.

He has developed both the Men's and Women's teams into perennial NCAA Championship contenders with the men sporting a 403-36 record in dual meets (92 percent) and the women boasting a 392-41 mark (91 percent). He won his 600th career dual meet during the 2004-05 season and reached his 700th victory during the 2009-10 season.

In 2010, Kaidanov led Penn State to its second consecutive NCAA team title, which is the Nittany Lions 12th. Placing the Lions firmly at the top of the NCAA fencing world. In the decade of the `90's, his teams won back-to-back NCAA combined titles in 1990 and 1991 and finished second in 1992, 1993 and 1994. Penn State won a record six straight titles from 1995 to 2000. Penn State started the new decade in style with its sixth straight national championship (2000). After a second-place finish in 2001, Penn State reclaimed the NCAA title with a superb effort in 2002. The Lions were runners-up in 2003, 2004 and 2006 before claiming the team title in 2007. After a fourth-place finish in 2008, Penn State claimed titles in both 2009 and 2010.

During Kaidanov's tenure, the men's team finished in the top three in 25 out of 29 seasons, while the women's squad improved from 10th place in 1986 to first place six times in the `90s. For these accomplishments, Kaidanov was honored as the 1990, 1991 NCAA and 1996 USFCA Coach-of-the-Year. He coached hundreds of All-Americans and 28 national champions. Ten of his fencers have become Olympians, at least three have become Junior World Champions. No matter what Emik touched in the sport of fencing, it turned to gold.

Between 1985 and 1993, he coached U.S. teams at the World Championships (`85, `86), World University Games (`85, `89, `91 and captain in `93), Maccabiah Games, Pan American Junior Championships and World Under-20 Championships. Kaidanov served as the United States Fencing Association's National Training Director in 1998-99.

Always direct, always fair, always with a smirk on his face, Emik made fencers, coaches, and anyone around him better both on and off the strip. The mark he left on fencing will never be forgotten. He will be missed by many.

Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com or visit us on Facebook.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Emmanuil Kaidanov, please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Emmanuil
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Koch Funeral Home
Services for Emmanuil Kaidanov
There are no events scheduled. You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or planting a memorial tree in memory of Emmanuil Kaidanov.
Visit the Tribute Store
Share Your Memory of