STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Tarleton State welcomes Nick Zaleski as the newest addition to the Texas baseball coaching staff, the team announced Monday.
As head coach Fuller Smith continues to build his coaching staff, the former McNeese State associate head coach and offensive coordinator will be trading the blue and gold for purple and white. In his first season at Tarleton State, Zaleski will serve as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator.
“Nick Zaleski has made an incredible impact on every show he’s been a part of,” Smith said. “The experience and success that Nick can bring to Tarleton Baseball was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss.”
In 13 years of college baseball, Zaleski has won eight championships as a coach and player. Zaleski began his college coaching career in 2013 as a volunteer assistant coach at UTSA. After two years with the Roadrunners, he began his eight-year career at McNeese State in 2016, where the Cowboys have had tremendous success.
“My wife and I are excited to return to the state of Texas and welcome our little girl as a Texan as well, and we look forward to the opportunities that will bring us,” Zaleski said. . “Seeing the direction of the baseball program is extremely encouraging. To be successful on the field, you have to do everything successfully off the field as well. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by really good players and coaches and that has allowed me to be a part of successful championship teams as a player and coach. Both success and failure leave clues. I want to be surrounded by people who are driven by the goal of success.”
In 2016, Zaleski began his tenure at McNeese as an assistant coach for four seasons, then was promoted to associate head coach and offensive coordinator for his final four seasons. Through its eight years as a cowboy, the baseball program appeared in two NCAA Regionals, won two Southland Conference regular season championships, and clinched two league tournament titles.
Zaleski has also been part of the two longest winning streaks in Southerland Conference tournaments, the first during his time as a player under Sam Houston and the second as McNeese’s coach.
The former cowboy is the only person to win three consecutive championships in Southland Conference history as both a player and a coach. During his eight seasons in Lake Charles, Louisiana, McNeese has led the Southland Conference in total hits, total doubles, total home runs, total bases, batting average, and fielding percentage. The Cowboys ranked second in the conference in total runs, total triples, total RBIs, and total stolen bases.
Zaleski was involved in the success found by the two best hitters in Cowboys baseball history, Payton Harden and Joe Provenzano, as well as McNeese’s all-time steals leader, Reid Bourque. During his time as a coach in the Southland Conference, he has helped guide players to awards such as; SLC Pitcher of the Year (2023), SLC Player of the Year (2022), SLC Relief Pitcher of the Year/Louisiana Pitcher of the Year (2022), SLC Pitcher of the Year (2022 & 2021), Gauntlet Winner Rawlings gold (2019), SLC Hitter of the Year (2017) and National Stolen Bases Leader (2017).
Prior to his career at McNeese, Zaleski spent three seasons with the UTSA Roadrunners working with the infielders and offense. During this time, his coaching efforts led to some of the best offensive numbers in the Western Athletic Conference, as well as the Conference-USA. USA and one of the top 10 offenses in program history at UTSA.
In Zaleski’s first year at UTSA in 2013, the Roadrunners had their most successful season since 2008 with an overall record of 35-25 and advanced to the Corvallis Regional hosted by Oregon State after winning the ATC Tournament Championship title. Western. The following year, the Blue, White and Orange transitioned to Conference USA and finished the season sitting in the top five in most major offensive statistical categories.
The Sugar Land native spent his college playing career as a Sam Houston Bearkat from 2006 to 2009.
During his time in Huntsville, Zaleski played a significant role in their three Southland Conference Tournament Championships and three NCAA Regional appearances, including the Oxford Regional Championship game in 2007. In 2009, Zaleski claimed the record for average of batting average of a season in Sam Houston after hitting . 419 batting average and still holds the title. During this time, Zaleski received a Whistle! Baseball honorable mention All-American and was named Bearkats Most Valuable Player.
Zaleski played one year professionally in the Toronto Blue Jays organization in 2009-10.
Over the past 10 years, Zaleski has helped train or recruit 28 players who were drafted and four players who signed free agent contracts. Of the 31 athletes who went on to play at the next level, 15 are still actively playing and three made it to the majors. Also on his resume of successful athletes are 52 All-Conference players, 33 Academic All-Conference players, 27 All-Tournament players, four Academic All-Americans, four Freshman All-Americans, and three All-Americans.
In 2009, Zaleski received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Sam Houston State and two years later earned a master’s degree in human performance with an emphasis in sports administration in Alabama. Zaleski is married to the former Amy Brown and they will welcome their first child in September 2023.
Team achievements (player/coach)
McNeese – Associate Head Coach
2022 Southland Conference Champions
2021 Southland Conference Tournament Champion
2021 NCAA Fort Worth Regional Appearance
2019 Southland Conference Tournament Champion
2019 NCAA Nashville Regional Appearance
2017 Southland Conference Champions
UTSA – Volunteer Assistant Coach
2013 Western Athletic Conference Tournament Champion
Corvallis 2013 NCAA Regional Appearance
Sam Houston – Student-Athlete
2009 Southland Conference Tournament Champion
2009 NCAA Houston Regional Appearance
2008 Southland Conference Tournament Champion
2008 NCAA Houston Regional Appearance
2007 Southland Conference Tournament Champion
2007 NCAA Oxford Regional Appearance