“Coach Z” influences athletes in sport, class

When some wrestlers come to California Baptist University to pursue their interests and education, they also come to find and live their purpose. Lennie Zalesky, head coach of the wrestling team, gives them the opportunity to live by that motto.

It is more than just wrestling to “Coach Z,” a nickname that coaches and wrestlers call him. He said he wants to develop these young men into great men by making sure they succeed not only in wrestling, but academically as well.

Bradford Gerl, senior electrical computer engineering major and wrestler, said Zalesky is supportive in all areas.

“He is supportive in our school work and helps us work around our schedules,” Gerl said. “With wrestling, he is always ready and available to work on technique.”

Zalesky said he wants his program to be the best it can be, both academically and athletically and his athletes agree.

Jacob Waste, junior criminal justice major and wrestler, said Zalesky is a compassionate coach and mentor.

“Coach Zalesky is a figure to me and is a big reason why CBU wrestling is now a top-10 program in Division II because of his commitment in developing his athletes the right way,” Waste said.

Zalesky wrestled for the University of Iowa, an NCAA Division I powerhouse, where he helped them win four straight national championships.

After deciding to come to the West Coast, he spent nine years at the University of California, Davis, before coming to California Baptist University, as he had always wanted to coach at a Christian university.

He has five years under his belt as the head coach at CBU and said his focus remains helping the athletes and coaches who help him prepare every week.

Andrew Nicola, assistant coach of the wrestling team, said Zalesky is a prime example of leadership.

“He has helped me be a better coach and man,” Nicola said. “He gives good advice about wrestling, but even better spiritual advice influencing the coaches around him to grow as Christians.”

Zalesky said he wants what is in the best interest for his wrestlers. Before his coaching career comes to an end, he said he wants to be known for helping his wrestlers go in the right direction in all
aspects of life.

About Christian Amarila

Staff Writer

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