FAYETTEVILLE - If a college basketball coach made the Final Four six times in 15 years, he would be an icon. If a college football coach made a BCS bowl - back when such a thing existed - six times in 15 years, he would be nearly unrivaled in his profession.

FAYETTEVILLE - If a college basketball coach made the Final Four six times in 15 years, he would be an icon. If a college football coach made a BCS bowl - back when such a thing existed - six times in 15 years, he would be nearly unrivaled in his profession.


Why, then, is Dave Van Horn seemingly so overlooked?


College baseball is not basketball, nor football in appeal or national popularity. And the College World Series is, technically, less prestigious than the Final Four, what with there being eight teams in one and four in the other. But make no mistake, Van Horn deserves more recognition than he gets.


And he gets some already. Ask college baseball people in-the-know and they will say Van Horn is one of the top 10 coaches in the sport. In 21 seasons as a head man at Northwestern State (three years), Nebraska (five) and Arkansas, DVH, as he’s become colloquially known, has never had a losing season. He has taken two of those schools to World Series twice.


Most recently, Van Horn - whom you’re better off not calling "DVH" around him - took the Razorbacks to Omaha, Nebraska last year. It was an overachieving season, Van Horn might admit, one led by the school’s first-ever Golden Spikes winner, Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi won almost every Player of the Year award in college baseball last season and ripped apart the Arkansas record books.


But the Boston Red Sox first-round selection in last year’s MLB Draft has exited, as have his two outfield mates. The team’s third baseman, No. 1 starter and nearly the entire bullpen are also gone. If last year was overachieving, a return to College World Series in 2016 would be a borderline miracle.


That isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory for Van Horn.


The coach has won grander things than his talent on the roster would suggest. Two seasons ago, Arkansas looked dead-to-rights a good halfway through the SEC schedule. The team had the unfortunate draw of having to play the eventual national champion in the Regionals. Even last year, the Diamond Hogs had a less-than-stellar nonconference set before slowing turning up the pace throughout the bulk of the schedule in the toughest conference in college baseball.


This season would be little different. Certainly new bats must be found. Beintendi, Tyler Spoon, Joe Serrano and Bobby Wernes are not easily replaced. Accordingly, Van Horn will probably use a mish-mash of players and players at various positions to mask the losses.


Clark Eagan, arguably the best returning hitter, is likely to play first, third and either of the corner outfield spots. Carson Shaddy, one of the prime overachievers last season, will see time at third, the corner outfields and catcher. Chad Spanberger will be the designated hitter, play some first and could, in a pinch, play behind the plate.


But with Zach Jackson back to close - or start, neither Van Horn nor Jackson are sure where the right-hander will pitch most in 2016 - Arkansas has one of, if not the, most dominant arm in the sport.


There are just enough ingredients to make Arkansas intimidating. And with a batch of votes here and there in various college baseball polls (unlike football or basketball, there is not one, or even two, defining standard polls), those educated int he game are giving Van Horn some due.


He probably deserves more.


Follow Eric on Twitter: @ericwbolin


How I pick the SEC


1. Florida


2. LSU


3. Texas A&M


4. Vanderbilt


5. South Carolina


6. Mississippi State


7. Arkansas


8. Ole Miss


9. Tennessee


10. Missouri


11. Alabama


12. Kentucky


13. Auburn


14. Georgia