Lennie Zalesky, head coach of wrestling at California Baptist University, was recently chosen to be inducted to this year’s college wrestling Hall of Fame class in both Iowa and California.
Along with the Iowa and California Wrestling Hall of Fames, Zalesky was also inducted into the Alaska Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010.
Zalesky said one can never be too disappointed with being inducted into a hall of fame.
“I’ve been around a lot of good mentors and good coaches at the University of Iowa,” Zalesky said. “The wrestling community here in California is pretty successful.”
Zalesky, who previously wrestled and coached at the University of Iowa and coached at the University of California, Davis, also said he owes much to the state of Iowa as he grew up in that state.
“I know I’m being inducted in Iowa mostly for what I did as a wrestler,” Zalesky said. “Iowa is very wrestling-oriented and I grew up around a great group of wrestlers.”
Derek Moore, CBU assistant coach of wrestling, said it is an amazing honor for Zalesky to get inducted.
“It was a well-deserved honor for him,” Moore said. “It is probably overdue in Iowa, but many great wrestlers come out of that state.”
Moore, who wrestled under Zalesky when he was studying at UC Davis, credits God for reconnecting him with Zalesky as an assistant coach at CBU.
“The Lord has brought us back together at CBU,” Moore said. “It is such a great blessing because when I wrestled under him, I was clueless about what I was doing, but later, he saw potential in me and saw what I could do.”
Nolan Kistler, senior criminal justice major and wrestler, said it is great for Zalesky to get inducted.
“He’s deserved (the induction) for a while,” Kistler said. “He made a big impact upon the Iowa wrestling program and as a coach and a wrestler, he’s phenomenal.”
Kistler also said he enjoyed being coached by Zalesky.
“Not only is he strategic, but he’s also compassionate,” Kistler said. “I’ve lost some matches earlier in my career, but he was very nice to me and told me what I did right.”
Kistler also credits Zalesky for being another father figure in his life.
“He is always there for me, both on and off the mat,” Kistler said. “He always makes sure my academics are in line, and also that I am building my character.”
Zalesky was inducted to the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2018, April 9, and will be inducted into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame, May 5.