Jaksa announces retirement after 25 years with baseball program


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Head coach Steve Jaska welcomes his players back to the bench after a 16-3 win over Oakland on April 25 in Comerica Park.

After 16 seasons as the head coach for the Central Michigan baseball team, Steve Jaksa has decided to move on and hand the keys to someone else.

On June 1, Jaksa announced his retirement as the program's second-winningest coach of all-time, with a record of 507-421-2. He won three Mid-American Conference titles and six MAC West Division Championships while earning a 257-157 conference record as the Chippewas' man in charge.

Jaksa is currently still the head coach until June 30, 2018.

"I am very proud to have represented CMU as a player and coach for the past 25 years of my life. I will truly miss the relationships with the baseball players, coaches and support staff," Jaksa told CMU Athletics. "The opportunity to help mold these young men meant a great deal to me. Know that a small piece of my heart will always be with my players. I wear the maroon and gold with pride and always stand for the fight song. May God bless."

The Grand Blanc native was a student-athlete for the Chippewas from 1974-79 as a pitcher. He posted a career record of 12-4 with four saves and a 2.76 earned run average — the 11th best ERA in CMU's history. 

In 1999, Jaksa was asked to come on as a pitching coach, which he served as for four years until becoming the head coach, adding up to 25 total years as a Chippewa baseball member.

In 2004 and 2015, Jaksa earned the MAC Coach of the Year honors. He coached three All-Americans, 20 All-MAC First Team and 33 Second Team selections, along with two MAC Pitchers of the Year (Josh Collmenter 2007, Jesse Hernandez 2010) and one MAC Player of the Year (Tyler Stovall 2007). He also had 45 Academic All-MAC Honorees, seven Academic All-District selections and four Academic All-Americans.

Jaksa has coached 36 players who have been drafted by Major League Baseball-- most recently are Michael Brettell, Dazon Cole and Daniel Robinson from the 2018 team. 

One of the notable 36 MLB players Jaksa coached is Collmenter, who played for seven seasons professionally with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves.

"Coach Jaksa is a true Chippewa who has been an outstanding representative since coming here in the 1970s as a student-athlete," CMU Associate Vice President/Athletics Director Michael Alford told CMU Athletics. "Coach Jaksa led this program with pride through his 16 seasons as head coach, following in the footsteps of coaching greats Dave Keilitz and Dean Kreiner as CMU remains one of the top programs in our conference and region."

According to CMU Athletics, a national search for the next head coach began immediately following Jaksa's retirement announcement. 

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