Beginning his 19th overall season with the Razorbacks in 2015, Dave Jorn has made a lasting and profound impression on the baseball program. In his second stint with Arkansas, Jorn is beginning his 13th season as the pitching coach with head coach Dave Van Horn.
Jorn’s unmistakable impact on the Razorback baseball program can not only be seen on the pitcher’s mound, but in the locker room and on the draft boards of every Major League Baseball team.
During two assistant coaching stints in Fayetteville, Jorn has been a part of 752 wins, five trips to the College World Series and 17 NCAA Tournament berths. In addition, the Razorbacks have enjoyed 12 40-win seasons, two 50-win campaigns and his pitchers have tossed five no-hit games.
Since 2003, 30 Arkansas pitchers have been drafted and since 2009, 16 of the 17 Razorback pitchers that have been drafted improved their draft stock by coming to school at Arkansas and learning under Jorn. Four of Jorn’s former pupils at the U of A saw time in Major League Baseball during the 2014 season as Dallas Keuchel (Houston Astros), Drew Smyly (Detroit Tigers), Mike Bolsinger (Diamondbacks) and Blake Parker (Cubs) were all in the big leagues.
Since returning to Arkansas in 2003, Jorn has had eight pitching staffs finish the season with an ERA of less than 4.00, including each of the last five seasons. Over the last four seasons, his pitching staffs have accounted for four of the 10 lowest team ERAs in program history, including a school-record 1.89 team ERA in 2013, and a second-best 2.63 ERA in 2014. The 2012 squad had a team ERA of 2.83, the fourth-best in school history, while the 2011 pitching staff finished the season with a 3.20 team ERA.
Jorn returned to Arkansas in 2003 after a 14-year career in Major League Baseball as a coach for the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. Prior to working in the pros, he spent six years with the Razorbacks under legendary Arkansas head coach Norm DeBriyn. In his second tour of duty with the Razorbacks, he has revived Arkansas’ pitching fortunes once again.
Under the tutelage of Jorn, the pitching staff was the anchor of the 2014 team, as eight pitchers had an ERA of 3.00 or less and two relievers combined for 52 appearances and each had ERAs under 1.00. Michael Gunn led the way with a 0.74 ERA and seven saves out of the bullpen, while Jacob Stone was equally impressive with a 0.94 ERA and 4-0 record. The Starting rotation was again one of the best in the SEC as Jalen Beeks led the way with a 1.98 ERA, while Chris Oliver totaled a team-high nine victories and Trey Killian paced the trio with an SEC-best four complete games. Arkansas allowed two runs or less in 34 of 65 games and added 10 shutouts to tie for the second most in program history.
Three members of the pitching staff were drafted, as Oliver (4th round, Phillies), Beek (12th round, Red Sox) and Gunn (16th round, Red Sox) all signed contracts to continue their careers at the professional level. Killian was also awarded an opportunity to continue playing as he accepted an invitation to play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
The 2013 Arkansas pitching staff ranks as the best in school history and among the best nationally in recent history. The Razorbacks finished the 2013 season with a nation’s best team ERA of 1.89, becoming the first school in the country to finish with a sub-2.00 ERA since Le Moyne in 1992. Arkansas’ team ERA was the lowest for any team since 1976, when Connecticut posted a 1.71 team ERA. Arkansas also led the country in hits allowed per nine innings (6.78) and was fifth nationally in walks and hits allowed per innings pitched (1.11).
The Razorback pitching staff was stout from start to finish with the highest ERA on the team being Killian’s 3.19. All three of Arkansas’ weekend starters finished with an ERA of 2.03 or below, led by second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection Ryne Stanek, who posted a 10-2 record with a 1.39 ERA. Barrett Astin compiled a 4-4 record with a 1.79 ERA, while Randall Fant enjoyed a breakout senior season with a 6-1 record and a 2.03 ERA. The Razorback bullpen combined for a 1.94 ERA. Colby Suggs set a single-season school record with 13 saves and a 1.74 ERA in 23 appearances. Beeks pitched in a team-high 29 games and went 6-2 with two saves and a 2.20 ERA, while Brandon Moore was 1-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 25 appearances.
Seven members of the pitching staff were selected in the 2013 MLB Draft, part of a school-record and nation-leading 11 Arkansas players taken in the draft. Along with Stanek (1st round, Tampa Bay Rays), Suggs (2nd round, Miami Marlins), Astin (3rd round, Milwaukee Brewers), Moore (17th round, Milwaukee Brewers) and Fant (29th round, Houston Astros), Arkansas pitchers Trent Daniel (17th round, Colorado Rockies) and Tyler Wright (26th round, Seattle Mariners) were also selected in the draft. Daniel had a 2.55 ERA with a 0-1 record and one save in 22 appearances, while Wright went 1-1 in 11 appearances and only allowed four unearned runs in 20.1 innings.
In 2012, Arkansas finished the season with a team ERA of 2.83, the third-lowest single-season ERA in school history. The Razorbacks ranked second in the SEC and fifth in the country in team ERA. Jorn’s pitching staff was even better in the NCAA Tournament. In 10 NCAA Tournament games, Arkansas’ pitching staff had a 1.92 ERA, including a team ERA of 1.80 in four College World Series games. Arkansas ranked fourth nationally in hits allowed per nine innings, giving up just 7.53 hits per nine innings. The Razorbacks finished the season with 10 shutouts, which ranked as the second-highest single-season total in school history.
Individually, 10 members of the 2012 pitching staff finished the season with an ERA under 3.20 (minimum 10 appearances). DJ Baxendale and Stanek each earned All-SEC honors from SEBaseball.com. Stanek also earned honorable mention All-America honors from CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Baxendale finished the season with an 8-5 record and a 3.11 ERA, while Stanek was 8-4 with a 2.82 ERA. Astin and Suggs headlined a strong Arkansas bullpen. Astin finished the season with 11 saves, which tied for the third-highest single-season total in school history, and a 1.99 ERA. Suggs compiled a 7-1 record with a 1.38 ERA. Three members of the Razorback pitching staff were drafted in the 2012 MLB Draft. Nolan Sanburn was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the second round, Baxendale was a 10th-round pick of the Minnesota Twins and Fant was drafted in the 29th round by the Cleveland Indians.
Jorn’s pitching staff in 2011 ranked among the best in the SEC and nationally. The Razorback pitching staff finished the season with a team ERA of 3.20, ranking fourth in the conference and 27th nationally. Arkansas’ team ERA was the 10th-best in program history. The Razorback pitching staff combined to allow just 7.86 hits per nine innings, which ranked 14th in the country. The Razorback bullpen was particularly strong in 2011, setting a new single-season school record with 20 saves and posting a 20-8 record with a 2.51 ERA.
Three of Jorn’s pupils earned conference and national recognition following the 2011 season. Baxendale was named second-team All-SEC and earned All-Region honors after finishing his junior season with a 10-2 record, three saves and a 1.58 ERA. Baxendale was the first Razorback pitcher to record double-digit wins in a season since Nick Schmidt in 2007 and posted the fifth-lowest ERA in program history. Astin and Sanburn each earned freshman All-America honors following the season. Astin appeared in a team-high 27 games and had a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.72 ERA. Sanburn led Arkansas with eight saves and compiled a 2-4 record with a 3.62 ERA.
In 2010, the Razorback rotation finished the year with a 3.93 ERA, finishing third in the conference and posting the first sub-4.00 ERA since the 2007 season. Arkansas pitchers also posted the second-best strikeout to walk ratio in school history at 2.92, fanning 551 batters and issuing just 189 bases on balls.
The ace of the Razorback pitching staff in 2010 was Drew Smyly. The southpaw finished the year with a 9-1 record and a 2.80 ERA. He was recognized for his stellar season by earning All-SEC honors. Smyly, who made his Major League debut in 2012 with the Detroit Tigers, was drafted in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Tigers with the 68th overall pick.
Jorn’s 2007 starting rotation was possibly the best three-man rotation in college baseball and one of the best in school history. Nick Schmidt, who garnered All-America honors for the second consecutive season, anchored a rotation that included junior college transfers Jess Todd and Duke Welker. The trio combined for 27 wins, 315 innings, a .217 opponent batting average and 319 strikeouts.
Under Jorn’s guidance, Schmidt finished his three-year Razorback career as one of the most-decorated players to ever don an Arkansas uniform. His 11-3 record and career-low 2.69 ERA in 2007 cumulated a career that produced a 28-8 record, 2.83 ERA and a school record 345 strikeouts. Schmidt also earned SEC Pitcher of the Year honors in 2006.
Schmidt was drafted in the first round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres with the 23rd overall selection. He became the first Razorback to be drafted in the first round since 1999 and just the fourth first-rounder in school history.
Jorn’s trio of starting pitchers were all selected by the 82nd overall pick in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft. Welker went with the 68th pick to the Pittsburgh Pirates, while Todd was taken No. 82 by the St. Louis Cardinals. Both Schmidt and Todd were picked as first-team All-SEC selections by league coaches. Todd also earned second-team All-America honors with a 9-3 record, two saves, two complete games and 128 strikeouts, which tied for the third-most in a single season in school history. During the summer of 2009, Todd was called up by the St. Louis Cardinals to join the big-league team.
The Razorbacks’ 2007 pitchers recorded a school-record 565 strikeouts in 569 innings of work for 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings that ranked fifth nationally. The staff also garnered a 2.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio and held opponents to a .249 batting average. The 2006 staff, led by Schmidt, posted a team ERA of 3.64, the lowest in 15 years.
In 2006, Schmidt finished 9-3 with 145 strikeouts and was named the league’s top pitcher by the coaches. His 145 strikeouts were also the second-most in a single season in Arkansas history. Jorn also molded lefty Devin Collis into one of the league’s top closers, finishing with nine saves. Shaun Seibert also came into his own under Jorn’s guidance, posting a 2.79 ERA that ranked second in the SEC.
In 2005, Arkansas compiled a 4.05 ERA and rode the strong arms of Charley Boyce and freshman All-American Schmidt to 39 wins and an NCAA Regional berth. Seibert and Schmidt were both named to the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America team for their standout efforts.
In 2004, the Razorbacks claimed a share of the SEC overall title and advanced to the College World Series for the first time in 15 seasons. Under Jorn’s guidance, Razorback hurlers posted the lowest team ERA since 1991 with a 3.87 mark. Jorn helped Boyce post a 10-3 record and a 3.20 ERA in 2004, while part-time starter Jay Sawatski also posted a 10-3 record with a 3.38 ERA. The Razorbacks’ bullpen was equally effective under Jorn’s instruction in 2004 as the relievers recorded a 3.72 ERA with a 25-11 record and 16 saves.
Jorn first served as Arkansas’ pitching coach from 1983-88. During Jorn’s time on DeBriyn’s staff, Arkansas posted a record of 268-108 (.713), competed in five NCAA Regionals and earned trips to the 1985 and the 1987 College World Series. Six different Razorback pitchers earned All-Southwest Conference honors during that span, including Kevin Campbell (’84), Tim Deitz (’85), Bobby Edwards (’87, ’88), Fred Farwell (’85), Steve Parker (’86) and Tim Peters (’87).
Van Horn and Jorn coached together on the UA staff from 1985-88. Van Horn was a graduate assistant while Jorn was in the midst of his first stint as UA’s pitching coach.
Jorn left the Razorback program in January of 1989 to work in player development in the New York Yankees’ minor league system. He was the pitching coach at Class A Prince William, Virginia in the Carolina League in 1989, helping the Cannons to a league title. Jorn then served in the same position in the Class A South Atlantic League in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1990. He spent two years (1991-92) as the pitching coach at the Yankees’ Class AA affiliate in Albany, New York, helping the team to a league championship in 1991.
He joined the New York Mets’ organization in 1993 and worked with their Class A South Atlantic League affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina in 1993-94. Jorn transferred to Kingsport, Tennessee to serve as pitching coach for the Mets in the Class A rookie league from 1995-96, winning a league title in 1996. He then returned to Columbia for the 1997 season.
In 1998, he was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks and worked as the pitching coach in Lethbridge, Ontario, Canada, in the organization’s short season Class A league club in the Pioneer League.
Jorn spent the next two seasons (1999-2000) with the Diamondbacks’ Class A Midwest League affiliate in South Bend, Indiana. He served as the pitching coach in 1999 before being elevated to the role of manager in 2000.
Jorn rejoined the Yankees’ organization in 2001 as a scout covering the Midwest. He was responsible for scouting in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Following the 2001 draft, he managed the Yankees’ Class A short season team playing in the New York-Penn League in Staten Island, New York.
Prior to his initial tenure at Arkansas, he was the pitching coach at Lurleen B. Wallace (Alabama) Junior College for one season.
Jorn and Melinda Gatling were married in April 2007. They have two daughters, Molly Kuhl (29), who is married to Kaleb Kuhl with one son, Bryant (2), and Maggie Gatling (22). Jorn also has a daughter, Christina, who has twins Kellen and Alexis (12).