Son of legendary coach promoted to head coach at St. Mary’s

Photo courtesy St. Mary's Athletics

St. Mary’s announced that Bubba Meyer has been promoted to head coach for the Rattlers men’s basketball program. Meyer is the son of former StMU legendary head coach Buddy Meyer, who led the Rattlers program for 27 years. The younger Meyer played for his dad at St. Mary’s and recently completed his 22nd year as an assistant coach with the program.

Meyer replaces Jim Zelesnak, who will assume a position inside the athletic department’s administration. Zelesnak began his coaching career at St. Mary’s by leading the softball program to a 401-184 overall record in 15 seasons, including the 1986 NAIA national title.

Zelesnak transitioned to the basketball sidelines and became the right-hand man for men’s head coach Buddy Meyer. Zelesnak helped lead the Rattlers to the 1989 NAIA national championship. He was elevated to head coach when Buddy Meyer retired following the 2004-2005 season.

An alum of St. Mary’s, Zelesnak spent the last 18 years as head coach of the men’s basketball program, compiling 264 career wins, which is third in program history behind Buddy Meyer and Ed Messbarger. Zelesnak led the Rattlers to four Heartland Conference tournament titles and five NCAA Division II regional tournament appearances.

Zelesnak posted a winning record in his first 24 seasons as a head coach for softball and men’s basketball. However, the Rattlers finished the 2022-2023 campaign 15-13 overall record and ended a streak of seven years with a losing record. 

Bubba Meyer grew up around the Rattlers program. He was a point guard for St. Mary’s, leading the team in assist-to-turnover ratio in each of his four seasons and two appearances in the NCAA Division II tournament before transitioning into a coaching position.

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