WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – It is déjà vu all over again for Oregon State’s Jim Zalesky as he has been named the Pac-12 Conference’s Head Wrestling Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Zalesky, finished his seventh year on the OSU bench by guiding the Beavers to their second straight Pac-12 title and their best finish at the NCAA Championships since 1996.
OSU wound up in eighth place overall at NCAA’s in Des Moines, Iowa last month, just a few weeks following its third conference championship in the last four years. Zalesky saw his team go 11-4 overall and 5-1 within the Pac-12 during the 2012-13 season, including a nine dual-meet win streak, stretching from early January to the National Duals in mid-February.
Zalesky is in elite company as he is one of only two OSU head coaches to have at least 87 victories following their first seven years on the job. The other Beaver coach to have accomplished that feat is the legendary Dale Thomas who had exactly 87 dual wins following his seventh year in 1962-63. Thomas went onto earn 616 wins during his 22 years (1957-90) on the OSU bench and with 13 more wins, Zalesky will join Thomas and Joe Wells (1993-06; 161) as the only trio in Orange and Black wrestling history to reach the century mark for dual wins as head coach. Additionally, Zalesky, Wells and Thomas are three of only four OSU coaches to receive the conference’s highest coaching honor as Zalesky joins Thomas as the only three time winner, with the current Orange and Black coach winning his first in 2010.
Last season the 17th coach in the 104 year history of the OSU wrestling program led OSU to the first Pac-12 title in the newly renamed conference’s history en route to a 10th place finish at NCAA’s. As a unit OSU boasted four conference champions and three All-Americans.
In 2012-13, Zalesky saw three wrestlers, Mike Mangrum (141 lbs.), Taylor Meeks (197 lbs.) and Chad Hanke (HWT) win Pac-12 crowns, while another trio (Meeks, Scott Sakaguchi and RJ Pena) earned All-American status at Nationals.
In his seven years as head coach in Corvallis, Zalesky has produced nine All-Americans and 14 conference champions, while sending a total of 43 student-athletes to compete at the NCAA Championships. Those individual accomplishments are in addition to his four conference titles (2007, 2011, 2012-13) and two top 10 finishes at Nationals.
The Shueyville, Iowa native won three national championships (1998-2000) as head coach at his Alma Mater (Iowa) and an additional three as a wrestler in the 158 lb. weight class from 1982-84. A four-time NCAA All-American, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004.
Zalesky is a combined 87-33-2 (.721) during his time in Corvallis and 214-67-2 (.760) overall as a collegiate head coach. He was given a three-year contract extension before the start of the 2012-13 campaign, stretching through the 2015-16 season.