CMU baseball alumnus Jake Sabol named new head coach
'I know what it means to put on the Central Michigan uniform.'
Central Michigan University enthusiastically welcomed back one of its own Thursday.
As he stood before a videowall projecting his beaming face, and spoke to an intimate-but-enthusiastic crowd of students, staff and supporters, new baseball head coach Jake Sabol got choked up.
“It is certainly an honor and a privilege to be standing here before you as the next head coach,” Sabol said. “I am aware of the expectations of CMU baseball. … I was not that uber-talented high school kid who was a (heavily recruited) Division I player. Far from it.”
Nonetheless, the 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher walked onto the team in 2007 and changed his trajectory.
“His perseverance and tenacity (are) a great example for the young men on the team and for all student athletes,” Amy Folan, Zyzelewski Family associate vice president and director of athletics, said in introducing Sabol as the program’s 22nd coach. “We did look across the country and it wasn’t a surprise that the best fit was grown right here in this yard.”
Sabol, a 2011 graduate, was a four-year letter winner during his time at CMU, helping the Chippewas secure two Mid-America Conference West titles and a season championship in 2010. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and played parts of two seasons in the farm system.
He found his way to coaching in 2013, when he accepted an assistant position as pitching coach at Alma College. His decade-long coaching career took him to Northwood University in Midland (Graduate assistant pitching coach, 2014-2015, and head coach, 2018-2023), with a two-year return to Alma, where he was head coach from 2016-2018).
As a coach, he racked up a 207-149-1 record, earning NCAA regional berths in 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023, according to university athletics. He led Alma baseball to two Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association tournament berths, and won the 2023 Great Midwest Athletic Conference championship with Northwood.
President Bob Davies said it wasn’t just the success on the field that made Sabol the right person for the job.
“He said it wasn’t just about winning rings but getting degrees into hands,” Davies said.
The coach reiterated that on Thursday, telling the roughly 50 people at the Chippewa Champions Center atrium that his goal is not just to develop championship-caliber athletes, but exceptional scholars and citizens.
“It’s the players,” he said. “I know what it means to put on the Central Michigan uniform.”
Sabol replaces Jordan Bischel, who was named head coach of the University of Cincinnati’s baseball squad June 18.
The new coach holds a Bachelor of Science in sports management from CMU and a Master of Business Administration from Northwood University. He resides in Midland with his wife Robyn and daughter Parker.