Including baseball skipper.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following one of the most successful competitive years in Razorback history, the University of Arkansas has signed six of its coaches to new contracts, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek announced on Wednesday.
In 2017-18, Arkansas finished 16th in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, including first among programs with 19 or fewer sports. The No. 16 national finish tied a program record for a combined University of Arkansas intercollegiate athletics program.
Dave Van Horn (baseball), Courtney Deifel (softball), Chris Bucknam (men’s track and field), Lance Harter (women’s track and field), Brad McMakin (men’s golf) and Shauna Taylor (women’s golf) have been signed to new five-year contracts with options for two one-year extensions, based on success, that could extend the agreements to a maximum of seven years. All six contracts replace previous employment agreements. The new agreements took effect, retroactively, on July 1, 2018 and run through June 30, 2023.
“We are fortunate to have some outstanding coaches leading nationally successful programs at the University of Arkansas,” Yurachek said. “Each coach in this group has proven to be among the best coaches in their respective sports as evidenced by the numerous national championships, national championship runner-up finishes, conference titles and program firsts.
“After having an opportunity to observe each of these programs and their performance, both historically and in their most recent seasons, I made it a priority to secure these highly successful coaches with agreements that will keep them at the University of Arkansas and reward them accordingly based on the success of their programs. Head coaches are an integral part of the overall success of Razorback Athletics. I am confident that under the leadership of Dave, Courtney, Chris, Lance, Brad and Shauna we will continue to successfully pursue our mission of Building Champions and Razorbacks for Life.”
Dave Van Horn, Baseball: Entering 17th season at the University of Arkansas, Van Horn has led the Razorbacks to 15 NCAA Tournaments and five College World Series appearances and has a 642-404 record as a head coach at Arkansas. Overall, Van Horn is entering his 31st year as a head coach and has compiled a record of 1,227-604, with 19 NCAA Tournament and seven College World Series appearances. In 2018, Van Horn led the Razorbacks to a 48-21 record, an NCAA Regional and Super Regional championship and a national runner-up finish at the 2018 College World Series.
Courtney Deifel, Softball: Entering her fourth season at Arkansas, head coach Courtney Deifel guided the Razorbacks to its first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2018. The Razorbacks finished the 2018 campaign with a 42-17 record and hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in program history. In 2017, Arkansas’ 17-win improvement from the previous season marked the largest increase in the country among Power 5 programs. After leading the program back to the SEC and NCAA Tournaments, Deifel was named the 2017 D1SoftballNews Coach of the Year.
Chris Bucknam, Men’s Track and Field: Bucknam is entering his 11th season as head coach of the Razorback Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country program. Since his arrival in 2008, Bucknam has captured 20 SEC titles, as well as the 2013 Indoor National Championship. In 2018, Bucknam led the Razorbacks to their eighth-straight SEC cross country title en route to a fifth-straight South Central Regional title and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Arkansas was runner-up at the SEC indoor meet and third at the outdoor meet. In total, last season Arkansas had 20 first-team All-Americans.
Lance Harter, Women’s Track and Field: Harter is entering his 29th season as head coach of the Razorback Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country program. During his time with Arkansas, Harter has orchestrated 34 SEC titles and two National Championships. In 2018, Harter led the Razorbacks to their 13th and 14th-straight SEC titles during the cross country and indoor seasons extending the streak that began with the 2013 SEC Cross Country Championships. At the NCAA Indoor Championships, the Razorbacks posted a runner-up finish that included three individual national champions. In total, last season Arkansas had 10 All-Americans.
Brad McMakin, Men’s Golf: McMakin is in his 13th year as head men’s golf coach for the Razorbacks. Last season, the Razorbacks placed 12th at the NCAA Championship and his team’s scoring average of 285.23 was a school record. Overall, his teams have earned 11 straight NCAA postseason berths and advanced to the NCAA Championship six times. Arkansas was NCAA runner-up in 2009 and Mason Overstreet was the NCAA individual runner-up in 2017. The Razorbacks have won at least one tournament in each of McMakin’s first 12 seasons and 26 tournaments overall in his tenure.
Shauna Taylor, Women’s Golf: Entering her 12th season as the head coach of the Razorback women’s golf team, Shauna Taylor has paced Arkansas to 11 consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and eight NCAA Championship appearances. Last season, Taylor lead the Razorbacks to the program’s first Southeastern Conference and NCAA Regional titles while winning a program-best seven tournaments. She coached junior Maria Fassi to the SEC and ANNIKA Award titles as the league and the country’s best collegiate golfer. Taylor and the Razorbacks have won 18 team titles and 27 individual victories.