Meeks wins a trio of awards as 10 wrestlers take home hardware from a night celebrating OSU's best season in 17 years
Following a year in which his team won its second straight Pac-12 title and placed eighth at NCAA's, OSU head coach is given prestigious conference honor for second time in as many years
Beavers followed up successful 2012-13 campaign with many memories and legendary accomplishments
OSU wrestlers go out with a bang, three earn top five finishes as team reels off 7.5 points on tournament's final day
OSU Crowns three All-Americans, scores 48.5 points and finishes in sole possession of eighth place at the end of the championships
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 2013-14 campaign will be his eighthat the helm of Oregon State wrestling program.
In seven seasons at OSU, his teams have finished first or second in the Pac-10/12 a total ofsix times. He's mentored nine All-Americans and 14 conference champions. His 87 victories are third-most in school history and he has the same amount of wins in his first seven years on the bench that legendary head coach Dale Thomas did through the same stretch of time (1957-63). Zalesky has seen his teams with three of the last four conference titles and he has been rewarded for his success in the Pac-10/12, being named it's ead wrestling coach of the year in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
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, including Taylor Meeks (197 lbs.), who finished fourth, as well as Scott Sakaguchi (149 lbs.) and RJ Pena (157 lbs.), who both finished fifth. The trio will return to Corvallis for the 2013-14 season and Meeks' fourth place finish was the first top 5 performance by a Beaver underclassmen at NCAA's since Babak Mohammadi accomplished the feat in 1992. OSU brought seven total wrestlers to Nationals for the third straight season. Prior to Nationals, Zalesky's team defended its Pac-12 title, winning its second straight conference crown and third in the last four seasons, while seeing a trio of wrestlers win conference championships. Mike Mangrum (149 lbs.), Meeks and heavyweight Chad Hanke all were tops in the Pac-12 and for the second straight year, Zalesky saw at least three if his wrestlers win conference titles. 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. During that time Oregon State compiled wins over Air Force (32-7), Wyoming (21-12), Stanford (32-6), Lehigh (20-14), Cornell (23-20), CSU Bakersfield (35-7), Cal Poly (50-0) and Arizona State (42-4). The Beavers defeated Michigan (22-13) in the first round of National Duals Regionals before having their streaked snapped against Virginia Tech in the Corvallis Regional finals. The season also saw OSU defeat Border Rival Bose State for the third straight time and handle North Dakota State in Fargo. Aside from their dual meet prowess, Oregon State took home titles in two open tournaments including the Reno Tournament of Champions and the Clackamas Open, while seeing a total of 18 wrestlers win individual weight class crowns during seven open tournaments throughout the year.
In 2011-12, the Shueyville, Iowa native led the Beavers to their third Pac-12 championship with him at the helmand 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.
ZALESKY'S OSU COACHING CAREER BY THE NUMBERS...