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 seven seasons as the Chippewas' pitching coach. His outstanding work was rewarded in November 2014 with a promotion to Associate Head Coah and Recruiting Coordinator.

Another MAC Championship highlighted the 2015 season. The pitching staff finished 2nd in ERA (3.64) and again was in the top 75 nationally, finishing 67th overall. Sean Renzi led the way as a 1st Team All-MAC pick. Nick Deeg was 2nd Team All-MAC and was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove awarded as the nation's best defensive pitcher, which was the first time in history of Chippewa baseball. Closer Tim Black set a program record for single season saves (11) and was named 2nd Team All-MAC. Black's 20 saves also marked a new career saves record at CMU. Sean Martens was chosen as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, the second of Opalewski's tenure. He has now mentored six 1st Team All-MAC selections, eight 2nd team picks and two All-Region honorees.

The Chippewas led the Mid-American Conference in ERA (3.39) in 2014, 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, whose nine saves tied teammate Matt Trowbridge's 2013 total which is the second highest number in Chippewa history. Jordan Foley (5th round, NY Yankees) was the program's highest draft pick since 2003, while Trowbridge was also a 13th round selection of the Baltimore Orioles and Kaminska signed a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers. Eleven CMU hurlers 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, which helped them win the MAC West title. 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 on the way to winning the MAC Championship. 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, and 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 had the third-best ERA in the Mid-American Conference. 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), Dietrich Enn's 2.39 earned run average (sixth all-time), Tim Black setting new career saves (20) and single season (11) saves.

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

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
2009-14Central Michigan UniversityPitching Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
2014-presentCentral Michigan UniversityAssociate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
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