New North Dakota State head coach Obe Blanc (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Just three days after Roger Kish left his head coaching position at North Dakota State, the Bison have announced that they’ve hired his successor in Obe Blanc. Blanc is no stranger to the NSDU program, as he has been the team’s associate head coach for the past two seasons and has served a total of four on staff in Fargo.
Prior to his tenure at North Dakota State, Blanc was on the NC State staff for five years. Blanc was an integral part of a Wolfpack program on the rise and on NC State’s team trophy-winning squad in 2018. While at NC State, Blanc helped mentor a pair of national champions and ten All-Americans.
As a competitor, Blanc wrestled at both Lock Haven and Oklahoma State. At Lock Haven, Blanc finished sixth in the country at the 2007 NCAA Championships. After college, Blanc was a fixture on the freestyle scene, making the 2010 World Team and capturing a pair of silver medals at the Pan-American Championships. He made every national team from 2009-13.
Blanc’s freestyle prowess also came in handy at NC State as he was the head coach of the Wolfpack Wrestling Club.
Retaining Blanc was an important measure of continuity for a team that went 11-3 last season with wins over Nebraska and Oklahoma. The Bison also put a pair of wrestlers on the NCAA podium (Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo), a feat that hadn’t been achieved at the school since 2015.
Blanc has also been a key figure in NDSU’s recruiting upswing. North Dakota State’s Class of 2021 (that included Caliendo) was ranked 15th in the nation by InterMat. Last year's class didn’t make the top-25, but was included in the “next five.” This year’s class features six wrestlers on MatScouts Big Board (Top 200) and will likely get noted in our forthcoming rankings.