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The Citadel announced their newest head coach today. The recently-tabbed Ryan LeBlanc quote-tweeted the announcement with enthusiasm.
Originally from Morrisville, New York, LeBlanc was a three-time NCAA qualifier at Indiana. He spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach at Appalachian State. In a classy gesture, the Mountaineers also voiced their support for their former assistant coach.
We'll miss you, @Leblanc2R, but we're excited that your experience at App State with @CoachJMBentley and our student-athletes prepared you to become a head coach!— App State Wrestling (@AppWrestling) July 30, 2020
Thanks for giving your all for App State 👏🏼#ReAchTheSummithttps://t.co/e1QSOosazT
The press release from the Citadel is below.
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Ryan LeBlanc has been named the new head wrestling coach at The Citadel, it was announced by director of athletics Mike Capaccio on Thursday.
"I would like to thank Mike Capaccio, Geoff Von Dollen and the rest of the search committee for entrusting me with the opportunity to serve as the next head wrestling coach at The Citadel," said LeBlanc. "It is an honor and privilege to join an institution with such a rich tradition of developing cadet-athletes on and off the wrestling mat. I will always be grateful to JohnMark Bentley for preparing me for this opportunity, and I look forward to connecting with the Bulldog fans, alumni and the South Carolina wrestling community to continue to build on this tradition. My wife, Morgan, and I could not be more excited to join The Citadel family."
"We are very excited to have Ryan join our Citadel family as our next head wrestling coach," said Capaccio. "Ryan has competed at the highest level, both athletically and academically. He will bring a new energy to the wrestling program and he is very familiar with The Citadel and its mission. We had a strong candidate pool and I want to thank the search committee for doing an outstanding job. In the end, Ryan separated himself from the group and we look forward to his arrival and future success at The Citadel."
LeBlanc comes to the Lowcountry after spending the previous four years as the assistant wrestling coach at Appalachian State. He was promoted to co-head wrestling assistant for the final two years.
In his four seasons at App State, the Mountaineers finished in the top two in the Southern Conference each year, including three regular season championships. LeBlanc helped to mentor 13 individual conference finalists, seven conference champions and 10 NCAA qualifiers.
The 2019-20 season saw the Mountaineers go 9-3 overall and establish a new school record with six NCAA qualifiers. App State ranked 14th nationally in win percentage, while leading the country with four dual-meet shutouts. The Mountaineers were also just one of three Division I schools with four conference champions, and one of six teams that had all 10 starters finish the season with a winning record.
Off the mat, LeBlanc led fundraising efforts that helped to renovate the wrestling practice facility and team locker room, as well as increase the scholarship endowment.
LeBlanc joined the Mountaineers after spending two years working for the State University of New York at Cortland. He started as a graduate assistant before transitioning to a dual position in coaching and alumni engagement.
LeBlanc helped guide the team to a seventh- and 13th-place finish in the NCAA Championships, totaling seven national qualifiers, four NWCA Scholar All-Americans, four NCAA All-Americans and two separate individual national champions. He also helped create the periodization plan for wrestling, strength and cardiovascular training throughout his seasons.
Prior to SUNY-Cortland, LeBlanc amassed a career wrestling record of 103-51 at Indiana University. During his collegiate career, he was a three-time NCAA qualifier (with a finish in the round of 12 as a senior), a three-time academic all-American, a two-year captain and a Big Ten Academic all-Conference team member for four straight seasons.
LeBlanc was also selected as the Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient, one of the most prestigious conference awards in college athletics. First awarded in 1915, the Medal of Honor is given to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who attains "the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work."
He graduated from Indiana in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science before receiving his master's in sports management from SUNY-Cortland in 2016.
For more information on The Citadel wrestling team, please visit CitadelSports.com or follow @CitadelWrestle on Twitter and Instagram, and @CitadelWrestling on Facebook.
"I'm extremely happy for Ryan. He is extremely deserving of this opportunity. I believe he is well prepared and The Citadel is getting a good man. I consider Ryan a close friend, and I am thankful for all his contributions to App State wrestling."
- JohnMark Bentley, Appalachian State Head Wrestling Coach