Chris Ostrowsky’s offense proved to be explosive, efficient and exciting to watch in 2017, his first season at Central Michigan’s offensive coordinator.
Utilizing an uptempo, no-huddle set, the Chippewas averaged more than 389 yards per game, including 255.7 yards through the air.
The offense hit on all cylinders as familiarity with the system took hold. The Chippewas averaged 41-plus points per over the final five regular-season games, and 28-plus for the season. Quarterback Shane Morris threw for an average of 249 yards per game, ranking second in the Mid-American Conference in that category, and his 27 touchdown passes tied for the second most in program history.
Morris also etched his name on the single-season chart, totaling 3,237 passing yards, the seventh highest in program history.
CMU running back Jonathan Ward enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, rolling up 1,489 all-purpose yards, which was third best in the MAC. His 13 touchdowns tied for fifth in the league.
Ward finished with 1,052 rushing yards, becoming the first CMU ball carrier to break the 1,000-yard mark since 2014. His 78.4-yard-per-game rushing average ranked fourth in the MAC.
A bevy of receivers – including Mark Chapman, Corey Willis and Tyler Conklin – enjoyed career-best campaigns in Ostrowsky’s system. Chapman, who averaged 14.8 yards per catch and caught five TD passes, was taken by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with the No. 1 overall pick in April in the CFL draft, while Conklin went to the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of the NFL draft.
Willis, Ward, Conklin, Chapman and offensive lineman J.P. Quinn were among the nine Chippewas to earn All-MAC honors.
Among the many Chippewa highlights on the offensive side of the ball in 2017 was Morris’ performance in a 45-27 victory at Kansas. The southpaw sliced up the Jayhawk defense to the turn of 467 yards and five touchdowns. The yardage total and the TD pass total were both the third-highest in program history, and Morris earned the MAC West Offensive Player of the Week Award for his performance.
Ostrowsky came to CMU after five seasons as the head coach at Northern Michigan University, where his high-octane offense increasingly produced eye-popping numbers, including an average of 31.7 points and more than 386 yards combined in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Under Ostrowsky, the Wildcats established 28 program records, including several by quarterback Shayne Brown. Among Brown’s NMU marks are career TD passes (75), career passing yards (9,267) and single-season passing yards (3,123). Also among the NMU records set under Ostrowsky’s watch was a 92-yard TD pass play, the longest in program history.
Ostrowsky's background includes time as an offensive coordinator, a quarterbacks coach, a recruiting coordinator, passing game coordinator, and an assistant head coach in stops at Northeastern (Mass.) and Division III Widener (Pa.).
Ostrowsky was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks and wide receivers coach and the recruiting coordinator at Washington and Lee University from 2001-04. Before that, he attracted attention as the head coach at East Side High School in Newark, N.J., from 1997-2001. He was the 1998 Newark Star Ledger Coach of the Year.
He graduated from Roselle Park High School, where he played quarterback, and he went on to play at New Jersey City University. Ostrowsky and his wife, Jennifer, have three children, Jackson, Joseph and Hope.