Jim Zalesky
Jim Zalesky
Position: Head Coach
Hometown: Shueyville, Iowa
Alma Mater: Iowa
Graduating Year: 1984
Experience: 9 Years
Jim Zalesky Biography
Courtesy: Associated Press
Release: 06/01/2012

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Coach Zalesky on Twitter (@JZWrestling)

One of the winningest programs in college wrestling history got one of the sport's winningest coaches when Oregon State hired Jim Zalesky on April 14, 2006.

Zalesky, who coached Iowa to three NCAA team championships, is the 17th head coach in Oregon State wrestling history. The 2015-16 campaign was his 10th with the Beavers.

Zalesky's OSU teams have captured seven Pac-10/12 championships and finished either first or second nine times. He's mentored 10 All-Americans and 23 conference champions. His 122  victories are third-most in school history.

Zalesky'-coached OSU teams have captured the last five, and six of the last seven, conference championships. He was rewarded for his success in the Pac-10/12 by being named Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Beavers had an excellent season in 2015-16. They finished 11-6 overall; won their fifth consecutive conference championship, and placed 21st at the NCAA Championships. Heavyweight Amarveer Dhesi was a pac-12 champion and an All-American, and Seth Thomas and Joey Palmer earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors.

OSU became just the third team in Division I history with 1,000 dual wins when it defeated Southern Oregon on Nov. 13, 2014, in its season-opener. That was also Zalesky's 100th dual win at OSU; he's now 122-47-2 lifetime at OSU and 249-81-2 overall in 19 years as a head coach, the last 10 of which have been spent at OSU.

In 2013-14, the Beavers were 12-7 overall and moved to within one win of Zalesky's 100th at OSU, and the program's 1,000th overall. OSU won its third consecutive Pacific-12 Conference championship; three Beavers earned conference titles and eight advanced to NCAAs, where OSU placed 28th.

The 2012-13 season picked up where the previous season left off, as OSU continued its improvement on the national stage, finishing eighth at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, its highest placing in the event since 1996. As a result, for the second straight season Oregon State produced three All-Americans: Taylor Meeks (197 lbs.), who finished fourth, and fifth-place finishers Scott Sakaguchi (149 lbs.) and RJ Pena (157 lbs.).

Meeks' finish was the first top-5 performance by an OSU underclassmen at NCAA's since Babak Mohammadi accomplished the feat in 1992. OSU brought seven total wrestlers to Nationals for the third straight season.

Zalesky's team defended its Pac-12 title, winning its second straight conference crown and third in the last four seasons. Mike Mangrum (149 lbs.), Meeks and heavyweight Chad Hanke won conference championships. The regular season was equally as successful as Oregon State compiled a 11-4 record and a 5-1 mark in conference competition, highlighted by nine straight dual wins during a five-week stretch in January and February.

In 2011-12, the Shueyville, Iowa, native led the Beavers to their third Pac-12 championship with him at the helm and amassed a total of four individual conference champs, the most since 1995. Zalesky brought eight of his wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis with the team finishing in 10th place. The Beavers claimed a total of three All-Americans in 2011-12 as Clayton Jack, Scott Sakaguchi and Mike Mangrum earning thoseprestigious honors. Coach Zalesky was also named Pac-12 wrestling coach of the year for his efforts on the sidelines and in the wrestling room.

Oregon State had one of its most successful seasons under Zalesky in 2010-11. The Beavers finished 21st at the NCAA Championships, sending eight wrestlers, the most in more than a decade. OSU finished second at the Pac-10 Championships with both Colby Covington (174) and Clayton Jack (heavyweight) winning their respective weight classes.

In 2009-10, the Beavers earned their second Pac-10 title under Zalesky in just four seasons. Covington earned the lone Pac-10 title at 174 pounds with five others joining him at the NCAA Championships. During the regular season, Zalesky led Oregon State to a career-best tying 18 dual meet wins, finishing with an 18-3 record and going on a 17-meet winning streak, the longest since 1984. A number of wrestlers broke into various single season and career lists for wins, pins and winning percentage, and Zalesky earned his first Pac-10 Coach of the Year accolade, while redshirt freshman Mike Mangrum was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

In the 2008-09 season, the Beavers produced one All-American in 149-pounder Heinrich Barnes. Oregon State sent four to the NCAA Championships with two automatic bids and two at-large after a second place finish at the Pac-10 Championships.

The 2007-08 season proved to be a rebuilding year for the Beavers. But under Zalesky's leadership, the team still earned a third place finish at the Pac-10 Championships, sending three individuals to the NCAA Championships.

In just his first season at Oregon State during the 2006-07 season, Zalesky coached the Beavers to a first place finish in the Pac-10, the first time since 1994 and to a ranking as high as No. 16 in the nation. He led Ty Watterson to an fourth place All-American finish at the NCAA Championships and led the team to 900 all-time dual meet wins, the third in the nation to do so.

Zalesky compiled a 127-34 dual meet record at Iowa, serving as head coach from the 1997-98 season through the 2005-06 season. His teams won NCAA titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000, and the Hawkeyes finished second in 2001 and 2004. Zalesky's teams captured three Big Ten team titles and his wrestlers won 10 NCAA individual titles and 45 All-America honors.

While at Iowa, Zalesky was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2004 and the National Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999.

Zalesky wrestled for Iowa in the early 1980s and was a four-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion at 158 pounds, ending his Hawkeye career with an 89-match winning streak. He was named Outstanding Wrestler at the 1984 NCAA Championships and Amateur Wrestling News named him the Wrestler of the Decade for the 1980s; he narrowly missed earning a place on the 1988 United States Olympic Team as he placed second in the U.S. Nationals at 163 pounds.

Zalesky was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004, the University of Iowa Letterman's Club Hall of Fame and the Iowa High School Athletic Association Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1994.

Zalesky's coaching career also includes three years as an assistant coach at Minnesota and seven seasons as an assistant under legendary Iowa coach Dan Gable, with Zalesky serving as head recruiter. As an assistant at Iowa,

Zalesky was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1997.

Zalesky is a 1984 graduate of Iowa. He and his wife, Teri, have four children - Nicolette, Jaclyn, Zackery and Lucas.


2006-07 17-2-0 7-1-0 First Two 26th One
2007-08 10-8-0 6-3-0 Third Two 46th None
2008-09 10-8-0 5-3-0 Second None 41st One
2009-10 18-3-0 6-2-0 First One 31st None
2010-11 11-5-2 4-3-1 Second Two 21st One
2011-12 10-3-0 6-0-0 First Four 10th Three
2012-13 11-4-0 5-1-0 First Three 8th


2013-14 12-7-0 4-1-0 First Three 28th


2014-15 12-1-0 6-0-0 First Five 30th


2015-16 11-6-0 3-2-0 First One 21st


10 Years 122-47-2 42-15-1 7 Conf titles 23 Champs 2 Top 10's 10