FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State University director of athletics Matt Larsen announced the hiring of Obenson Blanc as the next head coach of the Bison wrestling program on Friday, May 5. Blanc served the last four seasons on the coaching staff at NDSU, including the last two as associate head coach.
“I’m incredibly excited to keep Obe and his family in Fargo as the new leader of the Bison wrestling program,” said Larsen. “Some of our best seasons and recruiting classes in the Division I era have coincided with his time at NDSU. His leadership coupled with our returning nucleus of wrestlers and incoming recruiting class will keep the momentum of our program moving forward.”
Blanc has worked closely with all facets of the Bison wrestling program while coaching two All-Americans in Jared Franek and Michael Caliendo, and all three of NDSU’s Big 12 Conference champions – Cam Sykora, Luke Weber and Franek. Blanc has also mentored 19 NWCA Scholar All-Americans in his four seasons in Fargo.
“It is an honor to be named the head coach at North Dakota State and I’m excited to continue to add to a program with such a rich history and strong presence in Fargo and within the wrestling community,” said Blanc. “I am grateful for the opportunity that Matt Larsen, Jack Maughan and the administration have provided.”
“NDSU and the Fargo community have had a positive impact on me and my family, and I look forward to continuing to cultivate the relationships I have built with the student-athletes, alumni, and supporters,” added Blanc. “I’d also like to thank my wife, my family, and all the individuals who have had a big part in my development as a person and professional.”
Prior to his time in Fargo, Blanc spent five years as an assistant coach at North Carolina State, where he mentored a pair of NCAA champions, 10 All-Americans, and 10 ACC champions, as well as 18 NWCA Scholar All-Americans. Blanc played a major role in the Wolfpack’s rocket ascension in the wrestling landscape during his time in Raleigh. NC State placed fourth at the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships and also captured ACC Championship titles in 2016 and 2019.
Blanc also served as head coach for the Wolfpack Wrestling Club from 2017-19. He led the WWC to a runner-up finish at the 2018 U.S. Open and helped every club member to qualify for the World Team Trials Challenge. During his time over the Wolfpack Wrestling Club, Blanc helped produce five world team members and two senior freestyle national team members.
He started coaching after a successful freestyle wrestling career that included making five consecutive U.S. national teams from 2009 to 2013. At the peak of his career, Blanc was a three-time Pan-American finalist, two-time U.S. Open and U.S. World Team Trials champion in 2010 and 2013, and an alternate for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Blanc wrestled collegiately at both Lock Haven and Oklahoma State. In 2007 at Lock Haven, he earned All-America honors after finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships. He finished his college career at Oklahoma State, qualifying for his fourth consecutive NCAA Championships. He compiled a 118-41 career record with 25 pins.
Blanc earned his bachelor’s degree in sports administration from Lock Haven in 2008 and received his master’s degree in international business from Oklahoma State in 2010.
Obenson and his wife, Kristi, have two daughters, Elliana and Zoa, and are expecting their third child in August.