Staff
Head Coach
Pat Popolizio

The 2018-19 wrestling season marks Pat Popolizio’s seventh at the helm of the NC State wrestling program, as he was named head wrestling coach of the Wolfpack on April 10, 2012.

Over the last five seasons, NC State has had three national champions and four of the last five ACC Wrestlers of the Year were members of the Wolfpack.

He has led NC State to five straight top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, tied for most top-20 finishes in a row in school history (1980-84). Over the last five seasons, NC State has finished 19th in 2014, 16th in 2015, 11th in 2016, 17th in 2017, and 4th in 2018.

In his six seasons overall, Popolizio has had 40 NCAA qualifiers, highlighted by a school record 10 in 2017. In the last three seasons, NC State has qualified 27 of its 30 starters.

In May of 2018, Popolizio served as the head coach for the USA at the Cadet Pan American Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The U.S. dominated, winning the team title with 9 of the 10 wrestlers winning Gold.

In 2017-18, NC State brought home its first-ever team trophy, as the Wolfpack finished a school and ACC-best fourth at the 2018 NCAA Championships. R-Sr. Michael Macchiavello won a national title at 197 pounds, and R-Fr. Hayden Hidlay placed second at 157 pounds. NC State became the first ACC school with two NCAA Finalists. The Wolfpack also had a school record four All-Americans with R-Fr. Tariq Wilson placing third and Sr. Kevin Jack taking sixth.

“Pat is a builder of programs and of young men,” said NC State AD Debbie Yow at the time of his hire. “He was an outstanding collegiate performer at Oklahoma State and is a proven teacher and mentor as a head coach. He will lead Wolfpack Wrestling to compete for ACC titles and, eventually, the national championship.”

Prior to coming to NC State, in six seasons at Binghamton University (2007-12), Popolizio transformed the Bearcats into a national contender after inheriting the program that went 0-12 following its reinstatement in 2005-06. Among his highlights with the Bearcats:

• 14th at the 2012 NCAA Championships

• 21st at the 2010 NCAA Championships

• 2010 CAA Champions

• Two-time CAA coach of the year (2012 and 2010)

• Candidate for national coach of the year in 2010

• Four All-Americans and 21 NCAA qualifiers over six seasons

• CAA Wrestler of the Year and CAA Rookie of the Year in both 2012 and 2010

• 15-4 dual meet mark in 2011-12 was a school record .789 winning percentage

• School record 16 wins in 2010-11

Prior to his stint at Binghamton, Popolizio was the lead assistant and recruiter at American University for two seasons, helping that program finish 17th in the country. At American, he coached seven NCAA qualifiers and the school’s first All-American. Prior to that, he served as an assistant coach at Army (2003-04) and Sacred Heart (2002-03). His team at Sacred Heart achieved the highest grade-point average of any wrestling program in the country.

Prior to entering the coaching ranks, Popolizio was a decorated wrestler during his student-athlete career for Oklahoma State coach John Smith, a six-time world champion. Among his highlights during his collegiate career:

• Three-time NCAA qualifier

• Won greater than 90 matches

• Ranked No. 1 in the country at 184 pounds during senior year

• Helped lead Oklahoma State to Top 5 national finishes (second, third, third and fifth) at NCAA Championships in each of his four seasons in Stillwater

• Big 12 runner-up in 1998 and 2002

• Fifth at the World Team Trials in 2003

• 2002 Oklahoma State Hustle Award

Popolizio graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. He was a two-time Big 12 All Academic selection and five-time recipient of the Oklahoma State Student-Athlete Award.

At the prep level, Popolizio was a New York state scholastic champion for Niskayuna High. He was named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 1996 state prep meet, where he captured the 177-pound title, and went on to become the national high school runner-up.

Assistant Coach
Adam Hall

Former All-American Adam Hall joined the NC State coaching staff in the summer of 2015 as an assistant coach.

During the 2015-16 school year, Hall himself placed fifth in both the U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Tournament and the U.S. Olympic Trials. In addition, he won his weight class (70 kg) at the University National Tournament.

A former two-time NCAA All-American and Pac-10 champion, Hall joined the Wolfpack after spending the previous four seasons as an assistant coach at Columbia.

In his four seasons at Columbia, Hall coached 15 NCAA Qualifiers and one NCAA All-American (3rd place finish). He also completed an internship under the head coach of the National Wrestling Team at the USA Wrestling National Office before he got into coaching.

Hall had an outstanding athletic career at Boise State from 2007-11, posting a 122-18 career record (87.1 win percentage). His 122 career victories rank second in Boise State wrestling history. He won two Pac-10 titles in the 157-pound class and qualified for the NCAA National Championships all four years he competed. Hall also earned All-America honors as a redshirt junior in 2009-10.

As redshirt junior in 2009-10, Hall posted a 32-3 record while competing in the 157-pound class. He took third at the 2010 NCAA Championships and earned All-America status after going 5-1 in six bouts as the No. 2 overall seed. Hall also won his first Pac-10 Conference title in 2010. Hall finished the year with a team-high 32 overall wins and 16 major decisions and tied for the lead in dual wins (16) and dual win percentage (16-0).

Competing at 157 pounds as a redshirt senior in 2010-11, Hall went 30-2, capturing his second Pac-10 Championship and finishing fifth at the 2011 NCAA National Championships. Hall entered the NCAA National Championships at a perfect 25-0 and earned the top overall seed. He led the Broncos in overall wins (30), dual wins (12) and dual win percentage (12-0).

Hall placed fifth at the 2012 Olympic Trials and was a U.S. Open Placewinner in both 2013 and 2014.

Hall earned a B.S. degree in health science studies from Boise State in 2011. Named the 2010-11 Pac-10 Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he posted a 3.52 GPA during his five years at Boise State, graduated Cum Laude and was named to the Dean’s List three times. He also earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. He received his Master of Science in Sports Management degree in 2015 from Columbia.

Assistant Coach
Donnie Vinson

NC State head coach Pat Popolizio has announced the addition of Donnie Vinson as an assistant coach for the Wolfpack. Vinson was an All-American at 149 pounds during his collegiate career at Binghamton under Popolizio, and spent the last three years on the coaching staff at Cornell.

“Donnie will bring a heightened level of energy to our program,” said Popolizio. “As his former coach at Binghamton, I have been able to watch him grow as an athlete. I’ve been extremely impressed with his professional development, and he has proven he can help produce national champions at the Division 1 level.

“Donnie brings creativity and youth with him to Raleigh, which will have a major impact on all our student-athletes. Because of his history with myself and his former teammate, Nick Gwiazdowski, the transition will be smooth as he knows and understands the #PackMentality expectations and our culture.”

Vinson joined the Cornell coaching staff as the program’s volunteer assistant coach for the 2014-15 season, and was on staff there for three seasons, which were among the program's best ever. Vinson helped tutor three NCAA champions and two runners-up and 11 total All-Americans. Cornell qualified a school-record nine wrestlers for NCAA's in his first two years and won New York State, Ivy League and EIWA titles each year Vinson was on the sidelines.

He spent the 2013-14 season as a graduate assistant at Binghamton. He helped develop a pair of NCAA qualifiers, including EIWA runner-up Cody Reed at 197 pounds, who later become just the second Bearcat wrestler in program history to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. Binghamton had five place winners and tied for seventh in the school’s debut at the EIWA Championship.

Vinson is the career wins leader at Binghamton with a 132-27 record and was a two-time Colonial Athletic Association Wrestler of the Year. The 2012 All-American at 149 pounds was named the CAA Championship’s Most Outstanding Wrestler as a senior and claimed the athletic department’s Athlete of the Year award. He was also chosen to receive the John Bilos Alumni Award, given to the top senior male for outstanding career performances as a Bearcat. Vinson is one of just four wrestlers to defeat Kyle Dake, Cornell’s four-time NCAA champion, during his collegiate career.

He earned his undergraduate degree in marketing from Binghamton in 2012, and then went on to earn his master’s in student affairs administration in 2014, also from Binghamton.

Assistant Coach
Obe Blanc

Obe Blanc joined the NC State wrestling staff in the summer of 2014. Blanc, a 2013 U.S. World Team Trials champion and U.S. Open champion, serves as an assistant coach.

"Obe brings a lot of experience both on the National and International levels," said NC State head coach Pat Popolizio. "His world-class wrestling will have a major impact on the development of our student-athletes on and off the mat.

"Our goal is to produce NCAA Champions and All-Americans, as well as Olympic level athletes here at NC State. Obe's background will help this coaching staff develop athletes to reach the pinnacle of our sport."

Blanc has been a member of Team USA since he finished his college career in 2009. Most recently, he was both the U.S. World Team Trials and U.S. Open champion in 2013.

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, falling one win shy of earning All-America status at the 2009 NCAA Championships. For his collegiate career, Blanc compiled a 118-41 record with 25 pins.

He earned his undergraduate degree in Sports Administration from Lock Haven in 2008, and then received a Masters in International Business from Oklahoma State in 2010.

Wolfpack Wrestling Club Resident Athlete
Michael Macchiavello

2017-18: NCAA National Champion at 184 pounds, U-23 World Team Trials Champion, ACC Wrestlers of the year, ACC Runner Up.

2016-17: NCAA Qualifier at 184 pounds, also earned All-ACC honors with a second place finish … Went 26-8 on the season, including 10-3 in duals … But one loss was when he wrestled up at 197 pounds at North Carolina … Perfect 4-0 in ACC duals at 184 pounds … Was 5-6 versus ranked foes on the season, went 0-10 in his first two seasons … Also a perfect 15-0 in bonus point matches, led NC State with 10 major decision wins … Earned the No. 10 seed at the NCAA Championships, and came up one win shy of All-American honors … Went 3-2, with only losses coming to seeded wrestlers … Was the top seed at the ACC Championship, finished second after a pin to advance to the finals … Top win of the season was a 9-3 decision over #5 Zach Zavatsky of Virginia Tech in the ACC dual … Took first place in the Wolfpack Open, going 4-0 with a pair of top-20 wins … Placed seventh at the Midlands Championships, going 5-2 with a top-15 win … Finished the season ranked #12 nationally at 184 pounds by FloWrestling.com.

2015-16: Redshirted the season … Saw action in three open tournaments at 184 pounds … Posted a 12-3 record … Won the Penn State Open with a 3-0 record … Placed fifth in the Wolfpack Open going 6-1 … Was 3-2 at the Southern Scuffle … Named to 2015-16 ACC Academic Honor Roll.

2014-15: Wrestled at 184 pounds … Finished with a 9-8 record, including 5-6 in duals.

2013-14: Finished the season as the Pack’s starter at 184 pounds … Went 11-14 on the year, including 5-8 in duals … Placed fourth in the Wolfpack Open … Named to the 2014 All-ACC Academic Team … Named to the 2013-14 ACC Honor Roll.

Prep: The 2013 North Carolina state 4A champion at 182 pounds, he was 61-1 on the year … Placed third at the 2012 state championships at 182 pounds … Finished his high school career with a record of 185-28 … Placed third at the 2013 FloNationals at 182 pounds, and was sixth in 2012 at 182 pounds.

Earned a B.S. degree in Finance from NC State in the Spring of 2017. Pursuing a Master of Arts and Liberal Studies.