The Central Michigan baseball program has competed at a championship level during Steve Jaksa's thirteen seasons as head coach. Coach Jaksa continues to lead the winningest Division I Baseball Program in the Midwest since the 1972 season. We are very proud of this continued commitment to excellence.
The Chippewas have won three Mid-American Conference championships (2004, 2010, 2015) and five MAC West Division titles (2004, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2015) during his tenure. Jaksa has led the Chippewas to nine 30-win campaigns. Jaksa led the Chippewas to their third MAC Tournament championship appearance in 2012, as the Maroon and Gold won four-straight games after dropping the tournament opener before falling in the title game. He owns 423 wins as a Chippewa, the third-most in CMU history, and a .564 winning percentage (423-326-1) in the Maroon and Gold.
CMU is 213-126 in Mid-American Conference play under Jaksa's guidance, finishing first or second in the West Division in nine of the past thirteen seasons. In addition to the division and overall titles, CMU has advanced to three MAC Tournament championship games (2005, 2010, 2012). In 2004 and 2015, Coach Jaksa was awarded Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Central Michigan has fielded one of the Mid-American Conference's top pitching staffs during Jeff Opalewski's seven seasons as the Chippewas' pitching coach. His outstanding work was rewarded in November 2014 with a promotion to Associate Head Coah and Recruiting Coordinator.
Another MAC Championship highlighted the 2015 season. The pitching staff finished 2nd in ERA (3.64) and again was in the top 75 nationally, finishing 67th overall. Sean Renzi led the way as a 1st Team All-MAC pick. Nick Deeg was 2nd Team All-MAC and was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove awarded as the nation's best defensive pitcher, which was the first time in history of Chippewa baseball. Closer Tim Black set a program record for single season saves (11) and was named 2nd Team All-MAC. Black's 20 saves also marked a new career saves record at CMU. Sean Martens was chosen as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, the second of Opalewski's tenure. He has now mentored six 1st Team All-MAC selections, eight 2nd team picks and two All-Region honorees.
The Chippewas led the Mid-American Conference in ERA (3.39) in 2014, which was good for 66th nationally. This group was led by 1st Team All-MAC Selections Pat Kaminska, who was also an All-Mideast Region Selection, and Tim Black, whose nine saves tied teammate Matt Trowbridge's 2013 total which is the second highest number in Chippewa history. Jordan Foley (5th round, NY Yankees) was the program's highest draft pick since 2003, while Trowbridge was also a 13th round selection of the Baltimore Orioles and Kaminska signed a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers. Eleven CMU hurlers have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft under his watch, along with four others that have signed contracts as undrafted free agents.
Doug Sanders joined the Central Michigan baseball coaching staff in July 2013.
The 2015 CMU team ranked #1 in defense and #1 in offense in the MAC conference. They finished the season with the best overall record in the conference. Pat McKenzie (Second Base) was drafted in 28th round by the Detroit Tigers, while Zach McKinstry and Daniel Jipping were named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.
Sanders spent three seasons at his alma mater, Kent State, as volunteer assistant coach on the staff of Coach Scott Stricklin. He was part of Kent State's incredible run through the NCAA Regional and Super Regional, as it earned a berth to the College World Series in Omaha in 2012. Sanders was responsible for defensive instruction, which contributed to the 29th-ranked defense in the country in 2010 and the No. 8 defense in 2011.
Former Central Michigan standout Will Arnold joined the staff as an undergraduate student assistant during the 2013 season and upon graduation was named the volunteer assistant. He will work with catchers and assist with hitters in his 4th year as a coach at CMU. During Arnold's time here he has helped six All-MAC and one All-Region players, along with one draft pick (Pat MacKenzie).
A Mount Pleasant native, Arnold was named Co-Mr. Baseball by the Michigan High School Coaches Association in 2008 following a star senior season for Mount Pleasant High School. Over his final two seasons as a Chippewa he started 112 games and earned a spot on the All-MAC team in 2012 after leading the Chippewas in RBI, walks, putouts and fielding percentage. He led a pitching staff from behind the plate that had seven players drafted in those two years.
After his college career, Arnold played for the Washington Wildthings and the Road Warriors of the Frontier League in 2013. In 2014 he played for the Taos Blizzard of the Pecos League, before leaving to coach the USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars, which selects the best 18U players in the country to represent the USA in international games.
Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning
Aaron McLatcher first started at Central Michigan University as a student volunteer in 2007. Coach McLatcher currently serves as the Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning and directly oversees the day to day strength and conditioning programs of: baseball, gymnastics, volleyball and women's golf. During the season, Coach McLatcher travels to all fifty-six games to help maximize workouts, stretching, flexibility and mobility programs, and more importantly, assist in restoration and recovery time. McLatcher serves as the Bullpen Coach for all games and assist in meal planning during all road trips.
Over the past eight season, he was a student volunteer, student assistant and graduate assistant. From those experience and his program knowledge, he currently oversees all interns and graduate assistants in their development program.
McLatcher earned his Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from CMU in 2011. He recently earned his Master's Degree in Physical Education and Sport in 2014. He is also a certified strength and conditioning coach (CSCS). During the off-season, Coach McLatcher trains over five former Chippewa baseball players that have moved onto the professional ranks.