Joe LeBlanc is following the timeless advice of 19th century publisher Horace Greeley, who said, “Go west, young man,” as the top assistant coach at Rhode Island-based Brown University returns to his native west to become the assistant to newly hired head coach Troy Nickerson at University of Northern Colorado, the Greeley-based school announced Monday.
LeBlanc, a native of Meeker, Colo., was a four-time NCAA All-American at University of Wyoming before heading east to launch his coaching career, first at Indiana University, then at Brown.
"We are very excited to add Joe LeBlanc to our coaching staff," said Nickerson, who took the helm of the UNC wrestling program in mid-June. "Joe is a Colorado product that has succeeded on all levels. He is well connected and well respected in the community. Joe will help with our recruiting and community outreach along with being a great mentor to our upper weights."
It’s a homecoming of sorts for LeBlanc, a three-time Colorado state champ and the state tournament's 2006 Most Outstanding Wrestler for Meeker High School. He then headed north to the University of Wyoming, where he became the most successful wrestler in Cowboy history, compiling the most wins of any Wyoming mat star (147). He also became the school’s first four-time NCAA All-American. As a senior, LeBlanc finished his career in Laramie by winning the 2012 Western Conference Championships (his third conference crown), and placing seventh at 184 pounds at the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, having placed fifth in 2009, fourth in 2010, and sixth in 2011, all at 184.
LeBlanc also succeed in the classroom. The Colorado native was a three-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Academic All-American while at Wyoming.
After graduating in 2012, LeBlanc joined the staff at Indiana for one season, helping five Hoosiers qualify for the 2013 NCAAs. After one season in Bloomington, he then headed further east, to become the top assistant to first-year head coach Todd Beckerman at Brown. While at the Ivy League school in Providence, R.I., LeBlanc coached junior 184-pounder Ophir Bernstein to an eighth place finish at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, earning All-American honors.