The ABCA and its' members would like to congratulate legendary Arkansas Razorback coach Norm DeBriyn as this year's Lefty Gomez winner. Norm is an integral part of the baseball world and his community, which both are great qualities that make him worthy of receiving the award. Born Oct. 31, 1942, the 70-year old DeBriyn was a football, basketball, and baseball standout at DePadua High School in Ashland, Wisconsin. He continued his playing career at Wisconsin-Oshkosh and earned his degree there in 1963. In football he played split end and was a first baseman and outfielder on the diamond. He launched his coaching career with a five-year stint as head baseball and assistant football coach at Hortonville (Wis.) High School. He then moved to the University of Northern Colorado, where he served as freshman baseball coach while earning a master’s degree in physical education. He came to Arkansas in the fall of 1969 and has been in Fayetteville ever since.
In a head coaching career that spanned four decades, DeBriyn took over as head coach of Razorback baseball in 1970 at the age of 28. DeBriyn guided the Razorbacks to two Southwest Conference titles, one Southeastern Conference title, one SEC Western Division title, 15 NCAA Tournament appearances and four NCAA College World Series appearances. The Razorbacks had their best national finish is school history under DeBriyn in 1979 as they finished runner-up in the College World Series.
Upon his retirement, DeBriyn ranked 14th all-time in career wins among NCAA Division I head coaches with a record of 1,161-650-6 and a career winning percentage of .641. He still ranks as the University of Arkansas’ all-time victories leader. In 33 years with Razorback baseball, DeBriyn coached 19 All-America selections, six Freshman All-Americans, 58 All-Conference selections and 48 All-Conference Tournament selections. DeBriyn was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1999 and earned SWC Coach of the Year in 1978, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989 and 1990. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Razorback Hall of Honor in 1991. He was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2003 and is also a member of the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Hall of Fame.
Since his retirement from coaching following the 2002 season, DeBriyn has served as a part-time scout for the Colorado Rockies and Associate Director of the Razorback Foundation. He has been instrumental in fundraising for multiple expansions of Baum Stadium. DeBriyn and his wife, the former Caroline Mock of Honolulu, Hawaii, have been married for 43 years. They have two sons, Todd and Marty, one daughter, Carrie Jo, and one grandchild, Carly, who is 12. DeBriyn was ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church in November of 2012, and has been assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on campus.