SVSU Head Baseball Coach to Retire

SVSU head baseball coach Steve Jaksa will be retiring after a distinguished career spanning 45 years and over 1,000 wins.  He coached at the college level for 26 years and travel baseball/high school concurrently for over 19 years.

Jaksa finished his fourth season, two of which were abbreviated by COVID-19 but nonetheless, he painted a vision for the future by taking the Cardinals back to the conference tournament each season and becoming competitive again in the GLIAC Conference and regionally.

The Cardinals returned to the GLIAC conference championship game in 2019 for the first time in 16 years and Jaksa scheduled two premier games at professional venues Comerica Park and Dow Diamond for the first time in Cardinal history.

Academically, the Cardinal team had a team GPA over 3.0 every year and as a result, received the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Academic Excellence Award each year.

This past season, 2022, the Cardinals played an ambitious schedule with 28 of their 49 games against ranked regional teams.  Six of those ranked teams made the NCAA regionals, two made the super regionals, and one made the Division II National Championship.

Five Cardinals from this past year earned All-GLIAC honors.  Hayden Jatczak and Hunter Merillat were named to the first team, Austin Schweiger earned second-team All-GLIAC honors, and Andrew Burke and Martin Money were named honorable mention.

Jaksa came to Saginaw Valley from Central Michigan University, where he served as the head baseball coach for 16 seasons.  He ranks second on CMU’s all-time coaching wins list with an overall record of 507-421-2. He led Central Michigan to three Mid-American Conference championships and six MAC West Division titles while compiling a 257-157 record in conference action.

Jaksa was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2015. He coached 10 All-Americans, two MAC Pitchers of the Year, a MAC Player of the Year, 20 first-team All-MAC selections, and 33 second-team All-MAC honorees. His program also had success in the classroom with four Academic All-Americans, seven Academic All-District selections, and 53 Academic All-MAC honorees. Jaksa coached 40 individuals who were drafted into Major League Baseball.

He was a student-athlete for the Chippewas from 1974 to 79, leading the ’79 Chippewas on the mound with seven wins. He earned two letters while compiling a 12-4 career record with four saves and a 2.76 earned run average, which ranks 11th all-time on CMU’s career ERA list among pitchers who logged at least 100 innings. He returned to CMU as an assistant coach in 1999 and served as the pitching coach for four seasons until taking over as head coach.

Jaksa worked as an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) while earning his master’s degree in 1986, then coached for 11 years at Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw, compiling a 353-106 record and winning state championships in 1990 and 1997. He also served for 10 years as the school’s athletic director.

Jaksa, a native of Grand Blanc, Mich., was inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2004, he was inducted into the Greater Flint Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1974 national champion Connie Mack team, and in 2013 he received the Grand Blanc High School Distinguished Alumni Award.