Harvard Announces New Fencing Coach Four Months after Brand’s Dismissal


The Athletics department named Daria Schneider the new head coach of the Harvard men’s and women’s fencing programs Tuesday afternoon.

Schneider, who fenced at Columbia University during her undergraduate years, was the head fencing coach at Cornell for three years before coming to Harvard. She is the first woman to lead Harvard’s fencing programs.

This announcement comes two months after Harvard dismissed head fencing coach Peter Brand, following an independent investigation which concluded that he had violated Harvard’s conflict of interest policy. Brand sold his Needham, Mass. house for hundreds of thousands of dollars above its valuation to the family of a prospective student, who was shortly thereafter admitted to the College as a member of the fencing team.

Brand first took over the fencing program in 1999. After his departure in July 2019, the men’s and women’s team was under the supervision of his two assistant coaches.


Schneider was named the 2018 Ivy League co-coach of the year at Cornell and is a member of the USA Fencing Board of Directors and the U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council.

“Daria brings to Harvard a very accomplished background both as a head coach and as a fencer, and she will be a tremendous leader for our student-athletes and program,” Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise said.

Schneider takes over a program that was thrown into the national spotlight following Brand’s conflict of interest violation.

“I look forward to working with scholar-athletes, Harvard Athletics colleagues and the wider Harvard community to make a leading fencing program ever more vibrant and dominant,” she said.

Last year, the men’s and women’s fencing team combined placed fourth at the NCAA Championships, with three All-America selections.

Harvard’s first fencing tournament of the 2019-2020 season is in less than two months; the team will travel to State College, Penn. for the Penn State Open on Nov. 23.

—Staff writer Devin B. Srivastava can be reached at