November 24 — 5:29 pm, 2010

A Philadelphia fencing prodigy

But now a prodigy – American in a world dominated by Europeans, black where the best have almost always been white, and only 22 – has come along. He is Tyrone Simmons, and many regard him as the most promising fencer to be developed in this country in the last decade. … His most sparkling performance came last month at the NCAA tournament in Chicago, where he did just about everything but carve “Ty” on an opponent’s chest protector. He won 23 bouts, 10 by shutout, and was never extended.

Simmons, [Fred] Hooker and [Ken] Blake all came to the University of Detroit from Philadelphia, where they learned their fencing under Jim Moss at Benjamin Franklin High School. (Moss and his fencers refer to the school as Malcolm X, a name adopted by the black community but not officially recognized by the Board of Education.) “Jim Moss had everything to do with their development,” says [coach Dick] Perry. “He opened the world to them. I am interested in anyone who has learned from Moss because he does more than develop fencers. He works on the whole man.”
– Excerpted from Don Delliquanti, “’tis Far Better to Waste Than Be Wasted.” Sports Illustrated, April 24, 1972.

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