Jim Zalesky made huge news in the past few days after taking the Head wrestling coach at Jamestown College, an NAIA school.
Jim Zalesky has returned to coaching after a year hiatus.
After head coach stints at the University of Iowa and Oregon State, he will take over the University of Jamestown (N.D.) wrestling program.
Jamestown Director of Athletics Sean Johnson announced the hire in a news release Tuesday. Zalesky inherits an NAIA program that was 4-8 in duals last season and finished eighth in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
“I’m excited to be part of the University of Jamestown family,” Zalesky said in the release, “and look forward to leading the Jimmie men’s wrestling program to success in the classroom, the community and in competition.”
Zalesky, a three-time NCAA champion for Iowa and three-time state titlist for Cedar Rapids Prairie, is a member of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He coached at the NCAA Division I level for 23 seasons, leading the Hawkeyes to three straight national team titles from 1998-2000.
Zalesky, who served as a longtime assistant before taking over for legendary Iowa coach Dan Gable, was named National Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2004.
After nine seasons at Iowa, Zalesky took over the Oregon State program from 2006-2020, earning Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors in 2010 and from 2012-16. Zalesky has coached 10 NCAA champions, 53 total conference titlists, 59 All-Americans and four Olympians overall.
“We are thrilled that Coach Zalesky has decided to lead our men’s wrestling program,” Johnson said. “He is a perfect fit for our institution and our department and will provide tremendous leadership for our men’s wrestling student-athletes.”
Jamestown will be a rebuilding project for the veteran coach. The Jimmies have not had an All-American since 2017 and have only had four national qualifiers total in the last four seasons. The program did not have a qualifier in 2021.
“He is a great hire for the University of Jamestown,” former Iowa NCAA champion and current USA Wrestling Women’s National Team Coach Terry Steiner said. “Jim has been successful as both an athlete and a coach at the highest level of collegiate athletics. Coach Zalesky will bring not only a great wrestling mind but he will be a great part of the university’s athletic department, the community of Jamestown, and the state of North Dakota.
“There is not a doubt in my mind that he will bring the wrestling program to a completely different level in Jamestown.”
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It will also be on Facebook.