|Alma Mater:||Oklahoma, 1994|
Guiding the UCLA men’s golf team to a national championship in 2008, Derek Freeman begins his ninth season as the Bruins’ head coach in 2015-2016. In eight seasons under Freeman, UCLA has claimed 23 tournament victories, earned 18 All-America honors and won two Jack Nicklaus Awards, bestowed on the top player in college golf.
The Bruins enter the 2015-2016 campaign with the longest active streak of NCAA Championship appearances with 13. Since the format changed to stroke and match play for the 2009 Championship, the Bruins have advanced to match play in four of the seven years, tied for the most during that span with Georgia Tech, Illinois and Oklahoma State. Both UCLA and Illinois have reached that stage in four of the last five seasons.
Last season, the Bruins won four times at the Husky Invitational, the Erin Hills Intercollegiate, the TMC Spring Invitational and the Gifford Collegiate, the latter being the fifth time UCLA has won its own tournament. Jake Knapp was the medalist at the Husky Invite team competition, while Manav Shah won the individual side. Matt Pinizzotto was also victorious at the TMC Spring Invitational. The Bruins rebounded from an eighth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships to place fourth at NCAA Regionals and advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Match Play Championships. Jonathan Garrick was named GCAA Second Team All-America and First Team All-Pac-12. Lorens Chan earned Second Team All-Pac-12 honors and was also a GCAA All-America Scholar, while Shah was Honorable Mention All-Pac-12.
UCLA’s trip to the NCAA Match Play quarterfinals last year was its second straight appearance after also reaching that mark in 2014. The Bruins claimed a tournament victory at the Redhawk Invitational late in the season and used that momentum to earn the final spot at the San Antonio NCAA Regional and the sixth position at stroke play at the NCAA Championships. Chan and Garrick were each named Honorable Mention All-America and Second Team All-Pac-12. Individually, Preston Valder claimed medalist honors at the Cal State San Marcos Fall Classic.
The Bruins enjoyed an outstanding season in 2012-2013 with four tournament victories, including a win at the Tempe NCAA Regional, UCLA’s third regional title under Freeman. The Bruins also won at the Stanford Classic, the Gifford Collegiate and the Amer Ari Invitational. Four players won a total of five individual titles, as Pedro Figueiredo won twice (The Prestige and the Western Intercollegiate), Garrick took the Cal Poly Invitational, Knapp won the Cal State San Marcos Spring Invitational and Pontus Widegren claimed the Cal State San Marcos Fall Classic. Widegren’s 70.4 scoring average set a single-season school record, as he played 31 rounds in 14-under par, which helped him earn Third Team All-America and First Team All-Pac-12 honors. Figueiredo was a Second Team All-America, First Team All-Pac-12 and earned his second straight GCAA All-America Scholar award. Garrick was Honorable Mention All-America and All-Pac-12, Shah earned Second Team All-Pac-12 and Anton Arboleda was named Honorable Mention All-Pac-12. As a team, the Bruins earned a GCAA All-Academic award.
In 2011-2012, Patrick Cantlay had an historic season, becoming the first Bruin to earn the Ben Hogan Award, given to the top golfer in all collegiate and amateur competitions. Cantlay, who also played in four professional tournaments as an amateur to retain his world No. 1 ranking, was a Second Team All-America, First Team All-Pac-12 and CoSIDA Academic All-America. All-America Scholar Figueiredo was also Second Team All-America and All-Pac-12, Widegren and Alex Kim were both Second Team All-Pac-12, Arboleda was Honorable Mention All-America and All-Pac-12 and Mario Clemens was All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. The Bruins won twice at the U.S. Collegiate and Del Walker Match Play Championship, finished fourth at Pac-12’s, third at Regionals and tied for fifth at NCAA’s (Match Play Quarters). Individually, Figueiredo won the Cal Poly Invite, while Clemens claimed the Snowman Getaway.
UCLA won four times during the 2010-2011 campaign, including an NCAA Regional title, as Freeman was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Cantlay, the conference Golfer of the Year, was medalist at the West Regional with a score of 13-under. The Bruins also won the Gifford Collegiate, the Battle at the Beach and the Western Intercollegiate. Cantlay won four times (Gifford, Amer Ari, USC Intercollegiate), Widegren claimed the Fall Preview, Clemens was first at the Cal Poly Invite and Gregor Main won the Del Walker Intercollegiate. Cantlay was the Jack Nicklaus Award winner, as the nation’s top golfer, and also claimed the Phil Mickelson Award as the country’s best freshman and the Haskins Award. He was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, First Team All-America and GCAA All-Freshman. Main was Third Team All-America and First Team All-Pac-10, Widegren earned Honorable Mention All-America and First Team All-Pac-10 accolades and Kim was All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention.
The Bruins won twice in 2009-2010 at the Battle at the Beach and the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. Kim and Main were named Honorable Mention All-America, while Widegren earned GCAA All-Freshman Team plaudits. Kim was First Team All-Pac-10, while Figueiredo, Main and Widegren were Second Team.
UCLA’s lone victory during the 2008-2009 campaign came at the right time when it won the NCAA Central Regional. In addition, Erik Flores was the top individual at the U.S. Collegiate Championship. Flores was Second Team All-America and First Team All-Pac-10, while Main was All-America Honorable Mention, Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Second Team All-Pac-10 and GCAA All-Freshman.
Freeman’s coaching career began on the highest of notes, as UCLA won the 2008 NCAA Championship by one stroke over Stanford at Purdue’s Kampen Course. A key par by Kevin Chappell on the 72nd hole clinched the victory. Along with the team title, Chappell was the only player under par and the individual medalist (Arnold Palmer Award), the first for UCLA at the NCAA Championships.
Chappell was the Jack Nicklaus and Haskins Award winners and the Pac-10 Golfer of the Year, also earning First Team All-America and All-Pac-10 honors. Flores was Third Team All-America and First Team All-Pac-10, Lucas Lee was Second Team All-Pac-10 and Philip Francis earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 accolades. The Bruins won five times during Freeman’s maiden season at the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, the Collegiate Match Play Championship, the CordeValle Collegiate and the Augusta State Invitational. Chappell was the top scorer at the PING/Arizona Intercollegiate, Flores claimed the CS Bakersfield Invite, James Lee tied for first at the CordeValle and Lucas Lee won the Augusta State Invite.
Freeman was named UCLA head men’s golf coach on July 16, 2007 after spending one season (2006-2007) as the Bruins’ assistant coach. Prior to his time in Westwood, Freeman was an assistant at his alma mater, Oklahoma, in 2005-2006, helping the Sooners to their first Big 12 Conference team title since Freeman’s sophomore season.
Freeman coached at Oklahoma City University for three seasons (2002-2005). He was an assistant for the men’s and women’s programs for the 2002-2003 campaign, helping lead OCU to 14 titles, including the men’s 2003 NAIA Championship. After that season, he was promoted to head coach of the OCU women’s program and guided the Stars to a 2005 NAIA National Championship, winning by 49 strokes, as Freeman was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year. OCU earned a 2004 runner-up finish, with Freeman receiving Regional COY accolades both seasons.
As a player in Norman, Freeman enjoyed a fine career, serving as the Sooners’ captain for three seasons (1992-1994). He earned All-Big Eight honors in 1994 and league academic plaudits in 1993. Freeman was a two-time Bruce Drake Award winner for the most improved player and won OU’s Jim Begwin Award for leadership and sportsmanship. He played in four Big Eight Conference Championships, including the 1992 event in which the Sooners won their first-ever league title. Freeman also played in four NCAA Regionals and Championships. Of his 51 collegiate appearances, he finished in the Top 30 25 times.
He received his degree in economics from Oklahoma in 1994 and later played two years on the Canadian, Mexican and Nike Tours. A rib injury forced him to change careers and he worked in the financial services industry for five years prior to entering the coaching ranks.
Freeman, his wife Stephenie and their two sons live in the Santa Clarita Valley.Derek Freeman's UCLA Coaching Record
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|TOTALS||107||23||82||100||--||3 Titles||1 Title|