Arkansas baseball and head coach Dave Van Horn officially named Matt Hobbs to take over as pitching coach on Tuesday. He was introduced to the media on Wednesday.
Hobbs will fill the shoes of Wes Johnson, who left to be the pitching coach for the Minnesota Twins on Nov. 15.
“We’re excited about Matt being here,” Van Horn said. “He is a very good teacher and developer of young pitchers. There’s a lot of guys that want that type of pitching coach.”
Hobbs at 38 years old has 12 years of collegiate coaching experience. He comes from a tenure at Wake Forest, where he has been the last four years.
During his time with the Demon Deacons, 12 pitchers he coached were drafted or signed free-agent contracts. Comparing his first year in Winston-Salem to his third, ERA plummeted from 5.73 to 4.11, opposing batting averages dropped from .281 to .247, and strikeouts rose from 364 to 559, a team record.
Hobbs commented on leaving North Carolina.
“It’s an incredibly difficult decision because you have some roots in the place you’re at,” Hobbs said. “A place like Arkansas makes that decision a little bit easier.”
Before Wake Forest, he previously trained pitchers for four seasons at his alma mater of Missouri. He also was a pitching coach for one year at the University of San-Francisco and was an associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and pitching coach for three years at the University of California at San Diego.
Hobbs becomes just the third pitching coach under Van Horn’s tenure at Arkansas. Before Johnson was appointed, Dave Jorn served as pitching coach from the time Van Horn was hired by the UofA in 2003 until Jorn's retirement in 2016.
Hobbs was able to meet with the team Monday. He took this time to get to know the pitchers he will be working heavily with, he said.
“I had great conversations with all of the pitchers,” Hobbs said. “The building process starts with letting them know that I care about them. As people and as pitchers.”