Dec. 5, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. - Former UCLA head golf coach and Head Professional Emeritus at Bel-Air Country Club Eddie Merrins has been selected the recipient of the 2002 Honor Award by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) in cooperation with the College Golf Foundation as Associate Presenting Sponsor.
Merrins directed the UCLA golf program from 1975-89, guiding the Bruins to the national title in 1988. In addition, Merrins led UCLA to five total top 10 finishes, three Pacific-10 titles and 63 tournament victories. He also developed 16 All-Americans and two NCAA Players of the Year.
One of the founding members of the Friends of Golf (FOG), Merrins was instrumental in the creation of the original Ben Hogan Award, honoring the nation's top student-athlete in men's collegiate golf, in 1990. During the summer of 2002, Merrins worked extensively on the behalf of FOG with Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, to revise the criteria for the Hogan Award to recognize the top collegiate player during the past year and truly create the Heisman Trophy of men's golf.
"It's always a compliment to be honored by your peers," said Merrins. "I have such great regard for the coaches association and all the members there in. They are dedicated to their profession and I'm proud to be associated with them since my playing days at LSU in 1950 to today, more than 50 years."
A three-time All-America selection at LSU, Merrins won the Southeastern Conference Championship twice and the Southern Intercollegiates in 1953. In the 1952 NCAA Championships, he was the individual runner-up and was a semifinalist in the 1954 National Intercollegiates.
Throughout his career, "The Little Pro" has been a popular instructor and clinician. He has written numerous articles for various golf publications, including Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, and has appeared on The Golf Channel. His book, "Swing the Handle, Not the Clubhead," is considered one of the classic instructional manuals for teaching professionals.
Merrins held professional positions at Merion Golf Club in Philadelphia; Rockaway Hunting Club in Long Island, NY; and at Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY; before becoming head professional at Bel-Air in Los Angeles, in 1964.
"Mr. Merrins is truly one of the living legends in golf in the United States," said GCAA executive director Gregg Grost. "It is only fitting that our association honor him for his contributions to the sport throughout his career.
The award presentation will be held at the GCAA Hall of Fame Awards and Dinner Program on Wednesday, Jan. 22, as part of the 16th annual GCAA National Convention at the Sheraton World Resort in Orlando, Fla. For information on ticket availability, contact the GCAA national office at (405) 329-4222.