North Dakota State’s new coaching staff looks to rebuild and replicate wrestling success in Fargo

North Dakota State may be a team on the rise, but it’s no secret that the program’s undergone some major changes over the last three months that have caused notable shakeups.

In March, the Bison scored 25.5 points at the 2023 NCAA championships to break the program record at the DI level. Its finish in 24th place also came in as the third-highest in its history. But on May 2, 2023, then-North Dakota State head coach Roger Kish took a new job as the head coach of Oklahoma. Three days later, the North Dakota State athletic department announced that then-assistant coach Obe Blanc would be taking over the Bison as the new head coach. North Dakota State’s two returning All-Americans Jared Franek (fourth at 157 in 2023) and Michael Caliendo (seventh at 165 in 2023) transferred to Iowa a little over a month after the coaching change, creating a serious loss of firepower.

But for returning national qualifier Kellyn March, little about his day-to-day training and development has changed since these disruptions. He’s still working with Blanc and training on a similar cycle. He’s progressing as expected. If anything, March feels more confident than ever about his ability to continue to find success at North Dakota State, even with the changes. Continue reading at →

New Bison wrestling coach continues to blaze his own trail

Former world-class athlete Obe Blanc is the first Black head coach in NDSU athletics history

FARGO — The competitive wrestling career of Obenson Blanc was on an impressive path to the Olympic Games, just falling short of that goal when he was named an alternate to the 2012 U.S. team at the London Games. He was a two-time U.S. Open and World Team Trials champion before running out of steam and a coaching career came calling.

He didn’t go looking for it; coaching came to him. Today, at 38 years old, he finds himself a head coach for the first time, being named to the position about a month ago at North Dakota State.

In the process, Blanc became what is believed to be the first Black head coach in NDSU athletics history and, like getting into the profession in the first place, he didn’t go looking for it. It came to him. But he’s well aware of the significance from an overall university perspective, saying just his presence on the sideline “helps take that barrier in their mind away by visually seeing it.”

“I don’t know if it’s as important to me as it perhaps might be to other people,” Blanc said. “For me, I’ve never looked at it that way. I’m not saying there might be some different ceilings and stuff, I’m sure there are, but I’ve just never really had that kind of notion. Be smart and position yourself well, educate yourself and go chase what you want. I’ve never seen my color being a limitation.” Continue reading at →

Obenson Blanc Named North Dakota State Wrestling Head Coach

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.

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Obenson Blanc Named Associate Head Coach for NDSU Wrestling

FARGO, N.D. – Obenson Blanc has been elevated to associate head coach of the North Dakota State University wrestling team for the 2021-22 season, head coach Roger Kish announced Wednesday, June 2.

Blanc has spent the past two seasons with the Bison program, which has crowned two Big 12 Conference champions and qualified 10 wrestlers for the NCAA championships while compiling a 17-7 dual meet record during his time.

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Blanc Serving on Team USA Wrestling Coaching Staff at Pan American Games

LIMA, Peru – At this week’s Pan American Games, Team USA will be led by a trio of successful volunteer coaches handpicked by USA Wrestling including new North Dakota State University head assistant wrestling coach Obenson Blanc. Herb House (Greco-Roman), Troy Steiner (women’s freestyle) and Blanc will guide American athletes alongside the U.S. National Team Coaches.

Wrestling at the Pan Am Games begins at 10 a.m. CT on Wednesday, Aug. 7, and available on ESPN3. The tournament runs through Saturday, Aug. 10, at Miguel Grau Coliseum.

Prior to making the move to North Dakota State in July 2019, Blanc spent four years at North Carolina State as an assistant coach under the direction of Pat Popolizio.

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NDSU Names Obenson Blanc Head Assistant Coach

FARGO, N.D.—Obenson Blanc has been named head assistant wrestling coach at North Dakota State University. NDSU head wrestling coach Roger Kish made the announcement on Friday.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to help bring my skill sets to a program on the rise, its wonderful community, and student-athletes. I am lucky to have spent five years in Raleigh amongst a great staff and some of the most incredible young individuals you will encounter,” said Blanc, a native of Naples, Fla.

Blanc has been an assistant coach at NC State since the summer of 2014 following a successful freestyle 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.

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