Courtesy of SVSU Athletic Communications
UNIVERSITY CENTER -- Saginaw Valley State University Director of Athletics John Decker has announced Steve Jaksa as the Cardinals' Head Baseball Coach today. Jaksa becomes the fifth head coach in the history of the program.
Jaksa served as head coach at Central Michigan University for 16 seasons and ranks second on CMU's all-time coaching wins list with an overall record of 507-421-2. He led Central Michigan to three Mid-American Conference championships and six MAC West Division titles while compiling a 257-157 record in conference action.
Jaksa was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2015. He coached 10 All-Americans, two MAC Pitchers of the Year, a MAC Player of the Year, 20 first team All-MAC selections and 33 second team All-MAC honorees. His program also had success in the classroom with four Academic All-Americans, seven Academic All-District selections and 53 Academic All-MAC honorees.
"Coach Jaksa is a proven winner," stated Decker. "He has been successful at every level and we are confident that he will continue that tradition here at Saginaw Valley. We are extremely pleased that Coach Jaksa has brought his coaching and teaching talents to our University and that he will be leading our student-athletes and baseball program into the future."
He was a student-athlete for the Chippewas from 1974-79, earning two letters while compiling a 12-4 career record with four saves and a 2.76 earned run average, which ranks 11th all-time on CMU's career ERA list. He returned to CMU as an assistant coach in 1999 and served as the pitching coach for four seasons until taking over as head coach.
"I would like to thank Director of Athletics John Decker and the selection committee for this tremendous opportunity here at Saginaw Valley State University," said Jaksa. "Throughout the process, it was clear that Mr. Decker's goals and mine aligned well for the future success of the program. I know the student-athletes are looking forward to embarking on this journey that starts now. Together, we will create a team-first culture and play with a passion that will allow us to achieve excellence, on and off the field. I am thrilled to return to Saginaw, where I have strong roots and ties in the area. This program has great potential and I look forward to working with the players and leading the way in competing for championships on a regular basis."
Jaksa coached 36 individuals who were drafted into Major League Baseball. Most notable among that group is Josh Collmenter, who pitched in the major leagues for seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves. Pitcher Dietrich Enns also made his way to the majors, making his debut with Minnesota in 2017. Both Chad Pleiness, (Blue Jays, 2002) and Jordan Foley (Yankees, 2014) were fifth-round selections, the highest for CMU since the 1980s.
Jaksa earned two letters while compiling a 12-4 career record with four saves and a 2.76 earned run average at CMU, from which he received his bachelor of science degree in 1979.
He led the '79 Chippewas with seven victories, and his career ERA ranks 11th in school history among pitchers who logged at least 100 innings.
Jaksa worked as an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) while earning his master's degree in 1986, then coached for 11 years at Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw, compiling a 353-106 record and winning state championships in 1990 and '97. He also served for 10 years as the school's athletic director.
Jaksa coached at Northwood University in 1998, leading the Timberwolves to a 28-25 finish, then joined coach Judd Folske's CMU staff in 1999 and served as an assistant, overseeing pitchers and catchers, until 2002. Jaksa's 1999 Chippewa pitching staff led the MAC and ranked 17th nationally in ERA.
Jaksa, a native of Grand Blanc, Mich., was inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2004, he was inducted into the Greater Flint Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1974 national champion Connie Mack team, and in 2013 he received the Grand Blanc High School Distinguished Alumni Award.
Jaksa and his wife Patti have four children: Stacey, Rachel, Marc and Kelly.