CMUCHIPPEWAS.COM Jeff Opalewski Bio - Official Athletic Site Official Athletic Site - Baseball

Jeff Opalewski
Jeff  Opalewski

Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator

Alma Mater:
Central Michigan

Central Michigan has fielded one of the Mid-American Conference's top pitching staffs during Jeff Opalewski's six seasons as the Chippewas' pitching coach.

The Chippewas once again led the Mid-American Conference in ERA (3.39), 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, who's nine saves tied teammate Matt Trowbridge's 2013 total which is the second highest number in Chippewa history. This now makes five first team All-MAC picks and six second team All-MAC selections during in his tenure.

For the 6th straight year the CMU pitching staff has had a player drafted or signed to a major league contract as a free agent under Opalewski's tutelage. Jordan Foley (5th round, NY Yankees) was the program's highest draft pick since 2003. Matt Trowbridge was also a 13th round selection of the Baltimore Orioles and Pat Kaminska signed a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers. That now makes eleven CMU hurlers that have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft under his watch, along with four others that have signed contracts as undrafted free agents.

The Chippewas posted the fifth-best ERA (4.15) and the second-most strikeouts (413) in the Mid-American Conference in 2013. The CMU pitching staff was led by All-MAC selection Jordan Foley. Sophomore right-hander Dylan Rheault was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 19th round.

Another top five finish in team ERA (3.93) as well as the second most strikeouts in the league (436) in 2012 culminated with Zach Cooper being named a first-team All-MAC selection under the guidance of Opalewski. The Chippewas saw four pitchers drafted in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft with Cooper going in the 15th round to the Philadelphia Phillies, Dietrich Enns in the 19th round to the New York Yankees, Jon Weaver to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 21st round and Ryan Longstreth to the Detroit Tigers in the 40th round.

CMU ranked second in the MAC in team ERA (3.00) and strikeouts (208) in conference play in 2011. Two of the Chippewas' weekend starters--Zach Cooper and Trent Howard--were named to the All-MAC second team, and Cooper tossed the Chippewas' first nine-inning one-hitter when he shut out Western Michigan, 3-0, on May 14.

All three of CMU's weekend starters were selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. Howard was a seventh-round selection by the Baltimore Orioles, Jake Sabol was taken in the 36th round by the Detroit Tigers and Cooper was a 46th-round selection by the Florida Marlins.

In 2010, the Chippewas boasted a league-best 3.65 ERA in MAC play, the top mark by over a full run, and the top overall mark at 4.39. Opalewski worked directly with MAC Pitcher of the Year Jesse Hernandez and MAC Freshman of the Year Dietrich Enns that season. Both were named to the All-MAC first team, while Howard earned the second of his three straight All-MAC second team laurels. Three Chippewas (Enns, Howard, Bryce Morrow) finished in the top-10 among MAC pitchers in overall ERA. Enns also finished among the nation's leaders in ERA and hits allowed per nine innings, earning Freshman All-America honors.

In 2009, his first season as an assistant with the Chippewas, Opalewski oversaw a pitching staff that tied for the third-best ERA in the Mid-American Conference, posted the fifth-best opponent's batting average, fanned the second-most batters and allowed the second-fewest home runs (53). Dan Taylor and Trent Howard were both second team All-MAC picks. Taylor was the Diamondbacks 22nd round draft pick, while Devan Kline signed as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco Giants.

Several players have made their mark on the CMU record book under the guidance of Opalewski, most notable Zach Cooper's 270 career strikeouts (third all-time) and Dietrich Enn's 2.39 earned run average (sixth all-time).

Cooper and Trent Howard both posted top-10 strikeout marks during their career under Opalewski and three of the top-10 save seasons have also come during his tenure.

In the fall of 2009, Opalewski was promoted to recruiting coordinator and also leads the Chippewas' recruiting efforts in addition to his duties as pitching coach.

Opalewski earned four letters with the Chippewas from 2001-04 and served as an undergraduate assistant coach at CMU during the 2005 season. He was brought back as the volunteer assistant during the 2006 season.

He returned to CMU after spending various lengths of time in several roles over the previous two years with the Atlanta Braves as an associate scout, the Cangelosi Baseball program as the director of baseball operations and Bo Jackson's Elite Sports as the director of operations. He also served as an assistant coach for the Illinois Sparks, an 18U club team, in 2008.

As a player, Opalewski appeared in 46 games on the mound for CMU, including 30 starts. He was 8-8 overall in his career while working 147.1 innings.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing from CMU in December of 2005.

Jeff and his wife, Candace, reside in Mount Pleasant.

The Opalewski File

2005Central Michigan UniversityUndergraduate Assistant Coach
2005Wayne County Raptors (NYCBL)Pitching Coach
2006Central Michigan UniversityVolunteer Assistant Coach
2006Waterloo Bucks (Northwoods League)Pitching Coach
2007Saginaw Heritage High School (Saginaw, Mich.)Pitching Coach
2008Illinois Sparks 18U Club TeamAssistant Coach
2009-PresentCentral Michigan UniversityPitching Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
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