Long-time Penn women’s track and field coach Tony Tenisci — who dedicated more than three decades to the program — died on Oct. 28.
Tenisci joined the Quaker coaching staff in 1986 and became the Betty J. Costanza Head Coach of Women's Track and Field in 2012 before his retirement from Penn in 2016. He was known for his optimism, bringing unmatched energy and enthusiasm to each practice and race. Prior to his stint in Red and Blue, Tenisci was a four-time NCAA All-American in hammer throw and formerly held the Canadian national record in the event (221-3).
"It has been such an honor to have the opportunity to coach with Tony Tenisci, and his friendship has meant the world to me over the years," track and field coach Steve Dolan said in a statement announcing Tenisci's death. "The energy and enthusiasm which he brought to every interaction has been an inspiration to me and so many others. If the value of one's life is quantified by how many people you have helped and influenced in a positive way, then Tony is resting in peace among the most accomplished of all-time."
During his time at Penn, Tenisci coached 2015 discus National Champion Sam Mattis and 2003 javelin National Champion Brian Chaput. Many of the athletes he mentored went on to compete in the most prestigious meets such as the USA Championships, Senior American National Championships, and the Olympic Trials.
Tenisci also played a large role in Penn Relays, acting as the event's Director of Throwing Events. According to Penn Athletics, next year's 128th running of Penn Relays will include a tribute to Tenisci. He also fostered international relationships involving Penn and multiple schools in the United Kingdom by organizing trips to Oxford, Cambridge, and Birmingham. Beyond Penn, Tenisci is recognized for his help in developing women's hammer throwing in the United States.
Extending past his capacity as coach, Tenisci took a keen interest in physique building and physical education for the wider community. Aside from publishing a number of articles in both scientific and commercial publications, he held a patent on an exercise machine which targeted leg muscle growth. He also founded Mr. and Ms. Penn, a campus-wide body-building competition that was held for nearly three decades. The former coach was extremely hands-on in the event, providing diet and exercise plans to competitors, as well as helping to choreograph individual routines.
Above all, he will be remembered as an unequivocally devoted coach with an authenticity and love for the sport that is rare to come by.