Alma, Mich. - Alma College Head Baseball Coach Jake Sabol has accepted the head coaching job at Northwood University, as announced by the Timberwolves' media relations staff on Monday (July 16).
"Coach Sabol has done a fantastic job leading Alma's baseball program for the last three years," said Steven Rackley, Director of Athletics. "We're sad to see him go, but he built a strong foundation on which to continue building and we're excited for what's to come. We wish Jake the best of luck in his new role - Northwood's getting a great one."
"I am very grateful to Steven Rackley and to Alma College for giving me my first opportunity to be a head coach at the collegiate level," said Sabol. "This program and the players in it over the last three years have made such a positive impact on my wife and I. I am truly thankful for them and what they've put into this program and I will miss them more than anything. I wish them nothing but the best in the future."
Alma had the best three-year stretch in its history under Sabol's guidance. His teams own the top two winningest seasons in program history (28 in 2016, Sabol's first year, and 24 in 2018) and he is responsible for the program's first winning season since 1981. In three seasons, Sabol topped the 20-win mark twice; prior to his arrival, there were only two 20-plus-win seasons in the 127-year history of the program.
Sabol guided the Scots to its first ever MIAA Tournament appearance in 2016 and went on to defeat defending champion Adrian for the first time since 2008, eliminating the Bulldogs from the tournament. Alma made it back to the conference postseason in 2018 but fell to Hope in the second round.
Sabol's teams produced numerous offensive records. In 2016, the Scots hit .300, its highest team batting average since 2001. In 2018, Alma set new program-bests in doubles (81), total bases (542), at-bats (1356) and RBI (231), as well as tying the program records in runs scored (231) and home runs (21). In the 127 years of Alma College baseball before Sabol's arrival, no team had more than 339 hits in a season; Sabol's teams produced 390, 372 and 376 hits over his three years. In addition, 2018 saw the Scots posted their lowest team ERA (4.31) since the 2011 season and third lowest since 1996.
Alma boasted nine All-MIAA performers under Sabol's tutelage, including two First-Team selections in Doug Walters and Alex Valasek. Both have gone on to become coaches, themselves, with Walters serving under Sabol for the last two seasons.
A national search to find Sabol's replacement is currently underway.