FAYETTEVILLE — After spending a year writing a book about his life called More Than Baseball, Dave Jorn is ready to release it to the public.
Jorn, the former University of Arkansas pitching coach who spent over 20 years helping the Razorbacks to 18 NCAA tournament appearances in two stints, will host a launch July 23 at the Fowler Center adjacent to Baum Walker Stadium party for the book
The opening party runs from 5pm to 7pm and is limited to 125 people who need to register via Jorn’s new website – davejorn.com.
Jorn said hardback and paperback copies of the book will be available at the launch party and he will be happy to autograph them for anyone who would like a personalized message. Those interested in purchasing the book can visit Amazon.com or Jorn’s website for more information.
“I like it,” Jorn said. “I think it’s going to appeal to a lot of people on a lot of different fronts.”
A native of Shiloh, Illinois, 20 miles east of St. Louis, Jorn played in Southeast Missouri State, then played in the St. Louis Cardinals organization from 1976-1981, including with the Class AA Arkansas Travelers. He threw as high as the AAA level.
From 1982-2016, Jorn was a pitching coach in the college or pro ranks at the minor league level or scout.
“My life has been about more than just baseball. It was baseball, and then it was more than baseball,” Jorn said in reference to his book’s title. “Basically, it’s about not giving up, eradicating it—without Christ in my life and then with Christ in my life.
“How the Lord had His hand on me without my even recognizing Him.”
Jorn, 67, was the Razorbacks’ pitching coach for Coach Norm DeBriyn from 1983-1988. He left to work in professional baseball, then returned to Arkansas as coach Dave Van Horn’s pitching coach from 2003 to 2016.
With Jorn on the team, the Razorbacks advanced to the College World Series six times in 1985, 1987, 2004, 2009, 2012 and 2015. He coached numerous major league draft picks, including Dallas Keuchel, the American League Cy Young Award winner with the Houston Astros in 2015.
“Well, I’ve been a coach here in Arkansas for 20 years,” Jorn said. “So the book will have some stories about that.”
DeBriyn coached the Razorbacks for 33 years from 1970 to 2002. He continues to serve at the Razorback Foundation and is also a deacon at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Fayetteville.
“Dave isn’t a huge ego guy at all, but I think he has a good message for people,” DeBriyn said. “He’s always been a good person but when he came back here to train with Dave Van Horn I saw a big change in him.
“I mean, no more swear words. He cared about people and was more interested in the individual off the baseball field, where he is going with his life. He invested a lot of time in this.
“He stepped out to do things for others that I don’t think he’s done before.
“When he was our pitching coach in the 1980s, the players’ nickname for him was ‘Hard J’ because he was tough. You kept the line or otherwise.”
DeBriyn said Jorn continued to be an outstanding pitching coach after returning to Arkansas.
“We were pretty good when Dave was with us, and then he was really good when he came back here,” DeBriyn said. “He’s always been a good judge of talent and has made players he coached better mentally and physically.”
Jorn’s 160-page book is available in paperback for $24.95 from Amazon.com’s website.
“I’m not a writer, I’m a coach!” Jorn wrote a caption on Amazon’s website to accompany the book’s cover, in which he wears a Razorbacks hat and jacket. “In this book, however, I tell my life story of how I learned that there is more to life than just baseball.
“I can now look back and see how God was with me all along, even when I was ignoring Him. I’ll give it to you real and raw.
“The stories in this book span more than 30 years and include some of my fondest memories of my life as well as some of my toughest times. I hope you enjoy the book and remember there is more to life than just baseball.”
Jorn, who lives in Bentonville and is a part-time scout for the Tampa Bay Rays, said a friend and pastor, Ron Harris, encouraged him to write a book.
“Ron and I were having breakfast one morning and I told him about some things in my life,” Jorn said. “And he’s like, ‘Man, you gotta write a book.’
“I thought, ‘Who would care about my life?’ In my mind I couldn’t understand it.
“But Ron finally talked me into it and he introduced me to Mark Howard and it just took off from there.”
Howard is an author living in Prairie Grove with self-publishing experience.
Jorn said he and Howard met several times and recorded Jorn’s thoughts for the book. Jorn then reviewed the written transcripts of what he had said and made any necessary adjustments for the flow and accuracy of the text.
Jorn’s wife Melinda, a retired teacher, helped him with the final editing of the book.
“As long as it’s been writing, I’m really glad it’s done,” said Jorn. “It’s a great relief.”
Jorn said he likes that the book is under 200 pages long.
“It won’t be a difficult read,” Jorn said. “It’s going to be one of those things where you pick it up and hopefully have enough interest and you can turn it off in a short amount of time.”