June 3, 2004
STILLWATER, OK – Four outstanding wrestlers have been selected as the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Distinguished Members. Wrestlers in the Class of 2004 are Jim Zalesky, Les Anderson, Don Behm and Larry Hayes.
Jim Zalesky followed his brother to the University of Iowa and immediately made a name for himself. He won three Big Ten titles and three NCAA championship titles. During his four years as an All-American, he put together a string of 89 straight victories. He was named Outstanding Wrestling at the 1984 NCAA Tournament, as well as the 1984 Big Ten Tournament. He was named the 1984 Linn County Male Athlete of the Year and was a member of the College Wrestling Dream Team. After graduating from Iowa, Zalesky served as Assistant Coach at the University of Minnesota. He then returned to Iowa to become the head assistant coach and head recruiter under Dan Gable. He remained in that position for seven years from 1991-1997. In 1997 he was named NWCA Assistant Coach of the Year. In 1998, Zalesky was appointed head coach at the University of Iowa. His first three teams (1998, 1999 and 2000) won the NCAA Championships and Jim was named the NWCA 1999 Coach of the Year. He was named Big Ten Coach of the year in both 2000 and 2004. His record stands at 106-22. Zalesky was previously inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Les Anderson, a 1958 and 1960 NCAA champion at Iowa State University, has contributed to the sport of wrestling in almost every area. He was an alternate for the 1956 Olympic Team. After graduating from Iowa State he coached 32 years, four years at Blue Earth High School in Minnesota, three years at the University of Washington and then 25 years as Assistant Coach at Iowa State University. He was named Division I NCAA Assistant Coach of the Year in 1985. While at Iowa State he originated ISU summer wrestling clinics, a concept that spread nationally. He served seven years on the National Wrestling Coaches Board of Directors and helped initiate the first annual coach’s convention. He served as Director of five NCAA and one AAU National tournaments and started computer pairings for Division I NCAA tournaments. Anderson represented wrestling on a NCAA committee to reform sports recruiting. He participated in the formation of the United States Wrestling Federation (now USA Wrestling) and served three years on the Board of Directors for USA Wrestling. Anderson has also been a contributing writer/editor for various wrestling publications. He was previously inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Don Behm’s wrestling career spans several decades with accomplishments at every level from prep, collegiate, national amateur, Pan Am, World, Olympic, masters and veterans. While attending Michigan State University Behm won two Big Ten Championships and three Midlands Championships. He was a two time NCAA All American, placing third in 1965 and second in 1967. However, his greatest accomplishments came after graduating from Michigan State. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Behm won the silver medal at 125.5 pounds. He won five Freestyle National Championships and was twice named Outstanding Wrestler. Four times he placed in the World Championships, winning the silver medal twice. He won a Pan Am Gold, a Tiblisi Gold Medal (the first for the United States) and a Gold at the Veterans World Championships. Behm has coached at East Lansing High School since 1977, and also served on the AAU National Coaching Staff from 1977 to 1983. Behm is a member of the charter class of the Midlands Hall of Fame and was previously inducted into the Illinois Athletic Hall of Fame.
Larry Hayes was Iowa State University’s first three-time NCAA Champion. He won those titles in 1959, 1960 and 1961, with a career record of 51-4-1. He also won two Big Eight Championships. For these accomplishments he was named the 1961 Outstanding Athlete for the State of Iowa. He was considered to be a big factor in the rise of Iowa State University as a national wrestling power. Hayes began a coaching career as an assistant at Iowa State. After leaving Iowa State he served a three-year tour of duty in the military, and then began his high school wrestling-coaching career. He was an educator and coach from 1966 to 1982. After suffering a heart attack he gave up his coaching position, but continued to teach. Hayes was previously inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Iowa High School Hall of Fame.
Anderson, Behm, Hayes and Zalesky will be inducted as Distinguished Members of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame during Honors Weekend on June 5, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.