Don't blame Dave Van Horn if he's caught chatting it up with the guys in the other dugout a little more than usual this weekend.
When Arkansas plays Texas A&M in the Domino's Pizza Classic - being hosted by the Aggies in College Station, Texas today through Sunday - there will be quite a reunion taking place for Van Horn. And for the Arkansas coach, it might be hard to hold back some sense of pride when he mixes it up with the Texas A&M coaching staff.
From Aggies coach Rob Childress, to assistants Matt Deggs, Jeremy Talbot and Andy Sawyers, Van Horn has had a say in each of their careers before they wound up in College Station. Now, they finally get the chance to meet again.
"Well, it's always fun to go back and see the guys that helped me get where I'm at," Van Horn said. "I mean, no doubt about it those guys are all great coaches and they deserve to be where they're at. And I'm looking forward really to just going and seeing them and seeing their kids.
"It's been a few years and just a lot of phone calls and that type of stuff. But naturally, I want to go win. It will be all fun and hugs and all that on Thursday, but on Saturday I want to get after them. And they're the same way as me. So it'll be fun, it'll be intense, but really right now I'm just focused in on Louisiana Tech and finding a way to get after those guys."
Like Van Horn said, the Razorbacks (4-0) must worry about their opening opponent in the tournament before locking in on the Aggies. Arkansas plays Louisiana Tech at 12:30 p.m. today, with sophomore Dallas Keuchel (1-0) expected to make his first start of the season.
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But after that, expect all focus to be on A&M and Van Horn's reunion.
"We (as a staff) always talk about Dave," said Childress, who coached with Van Horn at Texarkana Junior College, Northwestern (La.) State and Nebraska. "We always talk about how great of a coach and how great of a competitor he is.
"I don't care what he says, he's the biggest competitor there is. He wants to win no matter if it's baseball or pheasant hunting."
Arkansas played in this tournament during the 2004 season. But that was before the current Aggies' coaching staff had arrived. Now, the return visit for the Razorbacks might have some extra-special meaning.
"Yeah, I'm the one who recommended Rob (Childress). I talked to (Texas A&M and former Nebraska athletic director) Bill (Byrne) about Rob four times and that was after he had already contacted three guys. And every time he called me, I'd say, 'The guy you really need to hire is Rob Childress. He's the best one out there. Just give him a shot. He's perfect for that job.' I mean, he's a Texan. His wife went to A&M. A&M is the job in the country that he wanted. He fits in with them, and he's a great baseball coach."
- Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn, on helping former assistant Rob Childress get the head coaching job at Texas A&M.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn will see some familiar faces in the Texas A&M dugout this weekend at the Domino's Pizza Classic, having coached with the entire Aggies staff at one time or another:
Texas A&M coach Rob Childress - assistant to Van Horn at Texarkana Junior College, 1991-92; assistant at Northwestern (La.) State, 1995-97; assistant at Nebraska, 1998-2002
Assistant Matt Deggs - assistant to Van Horn at Northwestern State, 1996-97; assistant at Arkansas, 2003-05
Assistant Jeremy Talbot - volunteer assistant to Van Horn at Nebraska, 1999
Volunteer Assistant Andy Sawyers - volunteer assistant to Van Horn at Nebraska, 2002; played for Van Horn at Nebraska, 1998
Arkansas at Domino's Pizza Classic
WHEN: Today through Sunday
WHERE: Olsen Field, College Station, Texas
ON THE AIR: KFAY AM 1030; KURM AM 790, FM 100.3; KHGG AM 1580, FM 103.1; KXIO FM 106.9
TV: Cox Sports
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: Arkansas vs. Louisiana Tech, 12:30 p.m., today; at Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m., Saturday; vs. Ohio State, 11 a.m., Sunday
TODAY'S PROBABLES: Louisiana Tech, RHP Luke Burnett (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Arkansas, LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Van Horn Catches Up with Old Friends
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