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Jim Zalesky hired as men's wrestling coach at University of Jamestown

by University of Jamestown Athletic Communications

The University of Jamestown is pleased to announce that Jim Zalesky is the new men’s wrestling coach.

A member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Zalesky brings a track record of success to the University of Jamestown.

“We are thrilled that Coach Zalesky has decided to lead our men’s wrestling program,” says University of Jamestown Director of Athletics Sean Johnson. “He is a perfect fit for our institution and our department and will provide tremendous leadership for our men’s wrestling student-athletes.”

“I’m excited to be part of the University of Jamestown family and look forward to leading the Jimmie men’s wrestling program to success in the classroom, the community and in competition,” says Zalesky.

Zalesky, a native of Shueyville, Iowa, has enjoyed incredible success as a student-athlete and coach.

In his 23 years as an NCAA Division 1 head coach, Zalesky won three NCAA Division 1 national championships, 13 conference championships, has compiled a 274-109-2 dual match record and coached over 50 All-American wrestlers.

As the head coach at Iowa (1997-2006), he led the Hawkeyes to the NCAA title in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and was national runner-up in 2001 and 2004. He was named the national Coach of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2004. Zalesky coached 10 NCAA champions, 20 Big Ten champions, 45 All-Americans and two Olympians during his time as head coach at Iowa.

During his 14 years as head coach at Oregon State (2006-2020), Zalesky captured seven Pac-12 wrestling titles and finished in the top-25 at the NCAA Tournament six times including an eighth place finish in 2013. He was named the conference Coach of the Year in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Zalesky coached 14 All-Americans, 33 conference champions, 79 NCAA Tournament qualifiers and two Olympians while in Corvallis.

Prior to becoming the head coach at Iowa, he served as an assistant coach at Minnesota and Iowa. During his time at Iowa, he was an assistant under Dan Gable and helped lead the Hawkeyes to six NCAA championships and seven Big Ten titles before taking over as head coach in 1997.

He was inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1994 and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.

As a high school wrestler at Cedar Rapids Prairie High School, he compiled a 99-12 record and was a two-time state champion.

As a collegiate wrestler at the University of Iowa he was a three-time NCAA individual champion for legendary coach Dan Gable. He posted a record of 131-7 and was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the 1984 NCAA Tournament. He was a four-time All-American (1981-84) and three-time Big Ten Champion (1982-84). He finished his collegiate career with 89 consecutive wins, still a record at Iowa.

Zalesky earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa.

Jim and his wife Teri are the parents of four children - Nicolette, Jaclyn, Zackery, and Lucas.

What They Are Saying About Jim Zalesky

Terry Steiner, USA Wrestling Women’s National Team Coach

University of Iowa graduate and NCAA champion

“He is a great hire for the University of Jamestown. 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.”

Mike Moyer, Executive Director, National Wrestling Coaches Association
“Coach Zalesky represents the gold standard in transformational coaching. He has been extraordinarily successful as a wrestler and coach at the highest levels. He has served in various national committee and board leadership roles at the highest levels in college wrestling over his tenure. The University of Jamestown should be congratulated for hiring a coach of his caliber and reputation.”

Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director, National Wrestling Hall of Fame
“Jim Zalesky epitomizes excellence in the world of wrestling as a coach and as a competitor. He excelled in the sport as a competitor in the state of Iowa during his high school years and at the University of Iowa during his collegiate career. He continued his legacy of excellence in coaching as head wrestling coach for his alma mater at the University of Iowa from 1997-2006, and at Oregon State University from 2006-2020, before accepting what is sure to be a promising legacy ahead for the University of Jamestown's wrestling program.”