Press Release from Arkansas Razorback Athletics
Matt Hobbs was announced as the new Razorback pitching coach Tuesday afternoon by head baseball coach Dave Van Horn. Hobbs comes from Wake Forest where he spent the last four seasons. Hobbs is replacing Wes Johnson, who was named the head pitching coach with the Minnesota Twins earlier this month.
“Arkansas is one of those places that has such a rich baseball history,” Hobbs said. “To have the opportunity to come here and work under someone like Dave Van Horn, it’s such an honor. Everyone speaks so highly of coach Van Horn and of Arkansas, that I can’t wait to get started, get to know my new pitchers and get to work.”
“There’s always a short list of coaches out there that are on teams’ radars and Matt Hobbs is always on that list,” Van Horn said. “He’s very highly respected throughout all levels of baseball around the country. His reputation is that he’s an extremely hard worker, enjoys recruiting and he’s very innovative. Young pitchers want to play for him and learn under him. He’s done a tremendous job wherever he’s been and he’s all about development. Matt’s excited to be here, back in the Midwest and back in the SEC.”
In Hobbs’ four seasons in Winston-Salem, 12 Demon Deacon pitchers were drafted or signed free-agent contracts in four years (2014-18), including four each following the 2016 and 2017 seasons and three after the 2018 season. In his coaching career, 33 student-athletes have either been drafted or signed pro contracts, including 29 who were undrafted heading into college.
Hobbs has coached eight players that have been drafted in the top-10 rounds, including 2018 first-round pick Griffin Roberts, and has helped develop a total of seven big leaguers: Rob Zastrysny, Guido Knudson, Matt Stites, Dylan Axelrod, Jeff Stevens, Chuckie Fick and Tanner Scheppers and Kyle Zimmer.
In each of his first three years in Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons improved in ERA (5.73 to 5.24 to 4.11), strikeouts (364 to 435 to a program-record 559), walks per nine (5.03 to 4.35 to 3.83) and opponent batting average (.281 to .280 to .247).
The 2018 Deacon pitching staff set a new program record for strikeouts per nine innings, fanning more than one batter per inning. The Demon Deacons also significantly improved their win totals the first three years under Hobbs, from 27 to 35 to 43, winning the 2017 NCAA Winston-Salem Regional and falling a game short of the College World Series at the Gainesville Super Regional.