Profile from the North Park University website (Kevin Shepke, SID):
Upwood enters his second season as the pitching coach for the Vikings after a successful playing and coaching career throughout both the Midwest and East Coast.
Upwood played collegiately at Ithaca College in New York from 1998-2002 under Hall of Fame coach George Valesente. As a member of the Bombers pitching staff, Upwood earned First Team All-Conference honors his junior and senior years as well as an Academic All-American nomination. He went on to play professionally as a member of the Gary Southshore Railcats and Lincoln Salt Dogs in the now defunct Northern League Independent Baseball League. From there, after leading the Railcats in earned run average with a 1.86, Upwood was signed by the San Diego Padres organization and played for their Class A affiliate the Fort Wayne TinCaps out of the Midwest League. After stints with the Arizona Padres Rookie League as well as the New Jersey Jackals and Can-Am Grays, Upwood went on to play for the Sussex Skyhawks as well as the South Georgia Peanuts where he helped lead the team to a 2007 South Coast League Championship with a team-best 2.53 ERA. He was also second in appearances with 35.
While a player in the minor league systems, Upwood also served as the pitching coach at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse New York from 2006-2011. He then moved on to serve as the pitching coach for the Railcats for two seasons where he helped lead the team to this past season’s American Association Championship. As the Railcats’ pitching coach, Upwood had at least one starting pitcher finish in the league’s top-ten in ERA as well as earning top-five team records in wins, ERA and WHIP (walks, plus hits, plus innings pitched) under his tutelage. He also had one player’s contract purchased by a Major League team and his pitching staff led the postseason in every category.
"Jake fits very nicely in the niche that we’ve carved out for our pitching coach position. He’s had success in a nationally prominent NCAA Division III program as a player at Ithaca, as well as a professional baseball background with the Padres and at the Independent level. A great asset for us is that he’s prepared guys to pitch at both the college and professional level, which is something that makes him unique. Our pitchers are used to being prepared professionally, by bright and talented coaches, and his skills and background will certainly allow for that to continue," states head coach Luke Johnson.