Van Horn Returns To Old Stomping Grounds

FAYETTEVILLE — This week, Dave Van Horn would probably love to sit back and reflect on the good times he had in his five years in Lincoln, Nebraska. Instead, the Arkansas baseball coach has a struggling team to worry about

Making his first trip back to Lincoln since he was head coach of the Cornhuskers from 1998-2002, Van Horn has little time for recollections. Especially with his Razorbacks (12-5) reeling from two disappointing losses to close out the opening weekend of Southeastern Conference play against Georgia.

"It's a quick turnaround," Van Horn said. "... It will be all about the baseball.

"I mean I'm sure we'll be taking the (text) books and make sure they stay caught up on what they need to be caught up on. But this is a baseball trip."

While Van Horn looks to get his team's problems worked out — particularly those involving pitching and defense — the 22nd-ranked Cornhuskers (14-2) are more than happy to welcome back one of their own. Especially Nebraska coach Mike Anderson, who was a Cornhuskers assistant before taking over the head coaching job when Van Horn left for Arkansas.

"I think it's awesome (Dave coming back to Lincoln)," Anderson said. "I look forward to it and I'll be honest I look forward to it for our team because it's an SEC opponent coming to Nebraska. That's a big thing for us. "And then I look forward to it on a personal level because coach Van Horn is one of my best friends. I mean what he offers me personally and what he's offered this program in the past, again I wouldn't do it unless I thought it in the best interest of our program."

Anderson said bringing Van Horn back to his old stomping grounds sooner didn't make sense. But now that he's been gone for almost six seasons, returning to the place where he guided Nebraska to two College World Series appearances is a good thing for both parties.

"One of the years here in the past it didn't work," Anderson said. "But it was also in our best interest and I think in Dave's best interest to let some of our kids get out of here. To let some of those kids that he had actually coached get out of here, you know.

"Just to let some of those kids move on, it was the right time and we needed to wait until they moved on."

And while plenty of time has now passed, Van Horn doesn't have the luxury of reflecting on the good old times too much this week. Because with a struggling bunch of Razorbacks, all focus is instead on righting the ship.

"I'm looking forward to it," Van Horn said. "I knew we would go back some time, and they're kind of on a roll. You know, we're rolling the wrong way right now from what I've seen. And it's going to be a big challenge for us playing on the road in front of a big crowd coming off some big losses."


Arkansas at No. 22 Nebraska

WHEN: 1:05 p.m., today

WHERE: Hawks Field, Lincoln, Neb.

RECORDS: Arkansas 12-5; Nebraska 14-2

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