Van Horn Improves Baseball Program
Ten years have passed since the hire of a new coach for the Arkansas baseball team, and in those 10 years, the baseball program has continually improved its status among other national programs.
Head coach Dave Van Horn, a graduate of the UA, led the Razorbacks to three College World Series in the decade following his hire, in 2004, 2009 and 2012. Altogether, Arkansas’ baseball team has appeared in the CWS seven times.
That isn’t all Van Horn has done for the Razorbacks. Under his guidance, the Hogs made 10 NCAA Tournament berths, earned the Southeastern Conference overall title and won three SEC Western Division Championships.
On top of that, Van Horn recorded 405 wins to 223 losses (.645) in his 10 years at Arkansas. This win percentage sets Van Horn as the 17th highest throughout all active coaches for the 2013 season.
While Van Horn’s ability to recruit crucial players could have been perplexing in the past, his coaching stature combined with the increased notoriety of the Razorbacks poses a threat to many recruiting colleges.
Many of the 2013 baseball team were drawn from within the state, but there are some surprises taken from underneath other notable baseball programs’ noses.
Three team members hail from California, ripped away from the USA Today poll’s No. 2 UCLA — junior infielder Dominic Ficociello, senior infielder Jacob Mahan and freshman infielder Jordan Farris.
No. 3 LSU couldn’t maintain all the potential Louisiana recruits, and Van Horn managed to snag junior infielder Johnny Tolson.
Van Horn has not only succeeded in recruiting gifted players, but in recruiting more and more fans to attend Arkansas baseball games. Since Van Horn began coaching the Hogs, Baum Stadium has been renovated three times and can seat more than 10,000 people.
Each season under Van Horn has improved, give or take rebuilding years. The improvement is evident in the amount of players Van Horn has molded into professional quality athletes.
In his first year at Arkansas, Van Horn had two players sign to play professionally. That number increased each year and hit a high point at nine players signing professional contracts in 2007. Three players were selected in the first round of the draft in different years, while 21 altogether earned first 10 rounds picks.
Van Horn continues to grow the Arkansas baseball program and faces his first challenge for the 2013 season Friday.