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

Jeff Opalewski
Jeff Opalewski

Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator

5 years

Alma Mater:
Central Michigan

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

The Chippewas posted the fifth-best ERA (4.15) and the second-most strikeouts (413) in the Mid-American Conference in 2013, led by MAC Pitcher of the Year candidate sophomore Jordan Foley. The hard-throwing right-hander developed into the Chippewas' Friday starter under the tutelage of Opalewski, finishing his second season in the Maroon and Gold with 90 strikeouts in 90.2 innings with a 6-6 reecord and 3.08 ERA.

The CMU pitching staff also had a player drafted or signed to a major league contract as a free agent for the fifth-straight season under Opalewski as 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.

Opalewski has worked with three first-team All-MAC picks and six second-team All-MAC selections during his tenure. Nine CMU hurlers have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft under his watch and three others have signed contracts as undrafted free agents: Devan Kline (San Francisco Giants, 2009), Jesse Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays, 2010) and Bryce Morrow (San Diego Padres, 2013).

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 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).

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 a 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.

Prior to the Sparks, Opalewski spent a season as the pitching coach at Saginaw Heritage High School after spending 2006 as in the same role for the Waterloo Bucks of the Northwoods League.

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.

The Opalewski File

2005-2006Central Michigan UniversityUndergraduate Assistant Coach
2006Waterloo BucksPitching 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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