Deggs To Texas A&M Made Official

FAYETTEVILLE -- Former Arkansas assistant coach Matt Deggs was named as an assistant at Texas A&M by new coach Rob Childress on Wednesday.

Deggs, a native of Texas City, Texas, who spent three seasons with the Razorbacks, will serve as the Aggies' hitting coach.

"Matt will be a great addition to our staff," Childress said in a release. "I have known him for quite some time and know that he will do a quality job with our offense. He is from Texas and will be a strong recruiter here."

Childress, like Deggs, is from Texas. Deggs was an infielder at Northwood (Texas) University when Childress was an assistant there. They also spent two years together on current Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn's staff when he was at Northwestern (La.) State in 1996-97.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to be back in my home state," Deggs said in the release. "Texas A&M has a strong baseball tradition and I am excited to be on the coaching staff here."

It was Van Horn who lobbied with his former athletic director Bill Byrne, who now is at Texas A&M, to hire Childress in the first place. Byrne was at Nebraska when Van Horn was the head coach and Childress was the pitching coach there.

"It was a little rough on me because it changed a little bit of my summer," said Van Horn, who had to turn down a chance to coach Team USA to begin a coaching search instead. "I knew this would happen when I tried so hard to help Rob Childress get the job, but that's part of it.

"In the long run, this is best for everybody."

Even though Arkansas' nonconference schedule -- and the Southeastern Conference -- has been progressively tougher each year, the Razorbacks' offensive numbers steadily improved with Deggs as the hitting instructor, outfielders coach and recruiting coordinator.

In 2003, the Hogs put up a .288 batting average and 377 runs on 574 hits in 57 games. They hit .290 with 446 runs on 697 hits in 59 games on the way to the school's first College World Series appearance since 1989 in only Deggs' second season.

This season, they hit .303 (the team's highest batting average since 1998) with 400 runs on 643 hits in 61 games. In each of Deggs' three years, the Hogs hit 53 home runs, but the team slugging percentage of .451 this season was the highest since 1999.

"He did a tremendous job in his three years here and I really appreciate all his hard work," Van Horn said. "It was a really hard decision for him and I understand that he really wanted to be closer to his family and his wife (Kathy) graduated from Texas A&M.

"I'm really happy for him."

Van Horn is expected to announce Deggs' replacement soon, possibly even as early as this week. The ideal candidate will be familiar with the Arkansas program, the SEC and have strong recruiting ties in the south.

'I've got it narrowed down to one or two guys that I would really like to have," Van Horn said. "If one or two of these guys can't change jobs or just doesn't feel like they can move, then I'll open it up because my phone has been ringing off the hook.

"There's so many good, young coaches out there that would be great candidates and be great for our program, so it's a good problem to have."

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