Staff
Head Coach
Steve Jaksa

Steve Jaksa enters his second season as the head coach at Saginaw Valley for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

In the 2018-19 season, Jaksa's first year at the helm, he led the Cardinals to the GLIAC Tournament Championship game for the first time since 2003. The Cardinals finished the season with an overall record of 21-29-1.

Jaksa had four Cardinals finish the 2018-19 season with All-GLIAC honors. Craig Wilson and Jordan Swiss earned All-GLIAC Second Team honors while Derrek Clyde and Adam turner garnered All-GLIAC Honorable Mention.

Jaksa came to Saginaw Valley from Central Michigan University, where he has served as the head baseball coach for the past 16 seasons. Jaksa served as head coach at Central Michigan University for 16 seasons and 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.

He was a student-athlete for the Chippewas from 1974-79, earning 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. 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 coached 36 individuals who were drafted into Major League Baseball. Most notable among that group is Josh Collmenter, who pitched in the major leagues for seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves. Pitcher Dietrich Enns also made his way to the majors, making his debut with Minnesota in 2017. Both Chad Pleiness, (Blue Jays, 2002) and Jordan Foley (Yankees, 2014) were fifth-round selections, the highest for CMU since the 1980s.

Jaksa earned two letters while compiling a 12-4 career record with four saves and a 2.76 earned run average at CMU, from which he received his bachelor of science degree in 1979.



He led the '79 Chippewas with seven victories, and his career ERA ranks 11th in school history among pitchers who logged at least 100 innings.



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 '97. He also served for 10 years as the school's athletic director.



Jaksa coached at Northwood University in 1998, leading the Timberwolves to a 28-25 finish, then joined coach Judd Folske's CMU staff in 1999 and served as an assistant, overseeing pitchers and catchers, until 2002. Jaksa's 1999 Chippewa pitching staff led the MAC and ranked 17th nationally in ERA.



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.



Jaksa and his wife Patti have four children: Stacey, Rachel, Marc and Kelly.

Assistant Coach
Matt Ellenbest

Matthew Ellenbest enters his second season as an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State University. Matt and the pitching crew saw success in the 2018-19 season throwing 344 strikeouts, good for fourth in the GLIAC. The Cardinals ended the season with an overall record of 21-29-1 and played in the GLIAC Championship game for teh first time since 2003. Ellenbest also coached thirdbaseman/pitcher Jordan Swiss to All-GLIAC Second Team honors in the 2018-19 season.

Matthew comes over from Kaskaskia College, a D1 Junior College in southern Illinois and a member of the Great Rivers Athletic Conference. Matthew helped send five pitchers and six position players to play at four-year universities. Advanced to the Regional Championship Game in his only year.

Has spent the last two summer seasons as a pitching coach for the Green Bay Bullfrogs in the Northwoods Collegiate Summer league. Has had the opportunity to work with kids from all over the country including schools like Georgia Tech, Kent State, Baylor to name a few. Worked with former Major League 1990 Rookie of the Year Chris Sabo (Cincinnati Reds).

Matthew originally from Medina, Ohio played one year at Wabash Valley Junior College and then transferred to Morehead State University to finish his career while receiving his degree.

While at MSU, Appeared in 24 games, all in relief ... Recorded a 2-2 mark with a 5.02 ERA ... Notched two saves, both against SIU Edwardsville ... First save came in regular season, recording a strikeout to preserve 8-7 victory ... Second save came in four inning of relief in the OVC Tournament opening round ... Tallied 19 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched ... Allowed seven earned runs in first four outings but then allowed just 14 more earned runs in final 19 assignments. Member of the 2015 OVC Championship team.

Brother Michael Ellenbest was a baseball player for Saginaw Valley for three years. He was Freshman of the Year of the GLIAC in 2015 while throwing 28 scoreless innings straight. Drafted out of SVSU in 2016 and is currently in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Assistant Coach
Jay Scott

Dr. Jay Scott enters his seventh season as an assistant coach for the Cardinals. Scott works primarily with the outfielders and handles the base running for the Cardinals.

In the 2018-19 season, Scott coached the Cardinals to first in the GLIAC for stolen bases with 72 on the season. He played a key role in leading the Cardinals to the GLIAC Championship game, first time since 2003, and an overall record of 21-29-1. Scott also coached outfielder Craig Wilson to All-GLIAC Second Team honors.

Scott grew up in Burlington, Ontario before coming to the United States to pursue an education and play collegiate baseball. He began his collegiate baseball career at St. Clair County Community College before transferring to SVSU in 2001. Scott played for the Cardinals during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. As the center fielder and leadoff hitter for SVSU, he recorded a career batting average of .394 and .511 on-base percentage while helping lead the Cardinals to a GLIAC championship in 2001.

During his tenure at SVSU, he earned first team All-GLIAC honors both seasons and was named the 2001 top offensive player for the Cardinals. He currently holds SVSU baseball single season records in batting average (.463) and on-base percentage (.549) while he is second in stolen bases (25) and walks (44).

After graduating from SVSU, Scott earned a Ph.D. at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of New Mexico and in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa. Scott is currently an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at Saginaw Valley State.

Assistant Coach
Jason Ball

Jason Ball enters the 2019-20 season marking the start of his second year with the Cardinals. Ball works with pitchers and coordinates and oversees the recruiting process.

Ball helped coach the Cardinals to 344 strikeouts in the 2018-19 season, good for fourth in the GLIAC, and led the Cardinals to an overall record of 21-29-1. He played a key role in leading the Cardinals to the GLIAC Championship game for the first time since 2003. Ball also coached thirdbaseman/pitcher Jordan Swiss to All-GLIAC Second Team honors.

A native of Sandusky, Michigan, Ball was a left-handed pitcher for St. Clair County Community College for 2 seasons. Ball then went on to be a Volunteer Assistant at Central Michigan University from 1999-2001 where he worked closely with current SVSU Head Coach Steve Jaksa.

Following CMU, Ball was an associate scout for the Milwaukee Brewers for 3 years. He has also coached at Essexville Garber and Nouvel Catholic Central, along with being involved with the Saginaw Bay Riverdawgs travel organization.

Ball received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from CMU. His wife Jill, a proud SVSU alum, is a school administrator. They have a son and daughter – Nathan and Morgan.

Assistant Coach
Tyler Provow

Tyler Provow enters his second season as the Graduate Assistant Coach for the Cardinals. Provow works primarily with the infielders, and also assists with the hitters.

In his first season as a Graduate Assistant Provow helped coach the Cardinals to an overall record of 21-29-1 and their first appearance in the GLIAC Championship Game since 2003. He also coached Jordan Swiss, Derrek Clyde and Adam Turner who earned All-GLIAC Second Team and All-GLIAC Honorable Mention, respectively.

Provow grew up in Auburn, MI where he attended Bay City Western High School, graduating in 2011, and earning All-State Dream Team honors his senior year. He began his collegiate playing career at Delta College where he started on the infield for two seasons. He then transferred to Rochester College in 2014 where he played second base and outfield during his two seasons with the Warriors. He helped lead the Warriors to back-to-back USCAA World Series appearances, and in 2016 he hit .321 for Rochester, earning USCAA Second-Team All-American honors.

Prior to his position at SVSU, Provow worked as an assistant coach for Bay City Western High School, under Hall of Fame coach Tim McDonald, for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He helped BCW to a 2018 Saginaw Valley League Title and a #1 state ranking to end the season. In 2018 Provow was the assistant coach of the Saginaw Sugar Beets, coaching first base and working with hitters and infielders. The Sugar Beets made it to the Great Lakes Collegiate Baseball League Championship in their inaugural year. He has also coached with the Oil City Stags summer collegiate team in 2016-2017.

Provow graduated from Rochester College in 2016 with a B.S. in Psychology, and is currently working on his MBA at Saginaw Valley State. He currently resides in his hometown of Auburn, MI.