Entering his sixth season, Derek Freeman has created a list of accomplishments that few other UCLA golf coaches can match. He guided the Bruins to their second NCAA team title in 2008, mentored the only NCAA individual champion in UCLA history and has tutored two Jack Nicklaus Award winners and one Hogan Award recipient.
Last season, The Bruins advanced to the NCAA Championship for a record 10th time after placing third at the NCAA Regionals. During the season, UCLA won a pair of tournaments: the U.S. Collegiate Championship and the Del Walker Collegiate Match Play Championship. Sophomore Patrick Cantlay played in four professional tournaments as a amateur while retaining his world No. 1 ranking. Junior Pedro Figueiredo won his first collegiate title and teammate Bobby Lange added his second. In 13 varsity starts, the Bruins recorded nine podium finishes, including three runner-up results. Cantlay and Figueiredo earned 2nd Team GCAA All-America honors and 1st Team All-Pac-12 laurels. In addition, Cantlay became the first golfer in UCLA history to receive the Hogan Award and the first to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. Finally, Figueiredo earned 1st Team All-Pac-12 Academic honors and GCAA Scholar All-America acclaim.
In 2011, Freeman guided the Bruins to four tournament victories, including an NCAA Regional championship. Freshman Patrick Cantlay won the NCAA West Regional individual title with a 54-hole total of 13-under par. Cantlay earned consensus 1st Team All-America honors, the Nicklaus Award and the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation's top freshman. He was also chosen as the Pac-10's Freshman and Player of the Year.
In 2010-11 junior Gregor Main and sophomore Pontus Widegren also earned All-America and all-conference honors. In addition, both players landed on the Director's Honor Roll during the season. Finally, Alex Shi Yup Kim was selected as an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention Team member.
Overall at UCLA, Freeman has coached six players who have earned nine All-America certificates. He has tutored a pair of Nicklaus Award winners, one Mickelson Award recipient and one Hogan Award winner.
In addition to coaching Kevin Chappell to the NCAA individual title, he has coached two players who have won NCAA Regional crowns. Overall, eight players have won 12 individual tournament titles under his watch.
Two players -- Chappell and Cantlay -- have been named Pac-10 Player of the Year under his direction and two have earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Nine players have received 17 all-conference certificates.
In 2009-10, Freeman's team entered the NCAA Championship with the youngest lineup in the tournament. He led the Bruins to a 16th place finish, a final ranking of ninth in the national poll and two team victories. Two players earned All-America honorable mention honors from the coaches association and four players earned All-Pac-10 acclaim. In addition, sophomore Kim emerged as one of the most improved players in the country vaulting from 438th in the rankings his freshman year to 41st as a sophomore.
In 2008-09, despite the loss of three talented players during the season, Freeman managed to guide the Bruins to their seventh straight NCAA Championship berth. Freeman also guided UCLA to its third NCAA Regional title in program history. In addition, Main was voted Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and senior Erik Flores became the only player in school history to earn 1st Team All-Pac-10 honors three times. Flores also earned All-America honors for the third time in his career.
The Bruins won the 2008 NCAA title by one stroke over defending champion Stanford at Purdue's Kampen Course on the last day of May. A key par by Chappell on the 72nd hole clinched the victory, but it was Chappell's bogey save from a disastrous lie at the 71st that enabled the Bruins to maintain a slim lead. Freeman kept his star player level-headed and positive, and coaxed his other senior -- Craig Leslie -- into playing the final three holes in one-under par to stymie the Cardinal's rally.
In the succeeding days, Chappell collected some awards that had UCLA historians dusting up their antique collection and creating new mantle space. He became the first UCLA golfer in the 75-year history of the program to win the NCAA individual championship and the Nicklaus award. He also became just the third player in school history to earn consensus first-team All-America honors, and the first since 1985. A month before the season ended, Chappell became the sixth UCLA player to earn Pac-10 Golfer of the Year honors.
Freeman also claimed one other All-American -- Flores, who also won his first collegiate individual title. In addition, both Chappell and Flores were selected First-Team All-Pac-10 members.
A former all-conference golfer at the University of Oklahoma, Freeman made an immediate impact on the UCLA program soon after his appointment on July 16, 2007.
Through the 2007 Fall campaign, the Bruins did not lose a tournament, winning the Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge, the Collegiate Match Play Championship and the CordeValle Collegiate.
The Bruins finished his first half season ranked No.2 in the nation.
In the November signing period, Freeman inked the nation's No. 2 ranked group of recruits as judged by GolfWeek. The list included two AJGA All-Americans and one of Mexico's top amateurs. Four months later, he added another AJGA All-American to that list.
In 2007-08, the Bruins won five tournaments, a figure that ranks fifth in school history. UCLA also won its first-ever Collegiate Match Play Championship. In that event, Chappell and freshman Philip Francis posted records of 4-0-0. During the season, four players won five individual tournament titles, including Chappell who won twice and ended the season 20-under par through 34 rounds. Chappell also set a single season school record by averaging 71.0 strokes per round and ended his career ranked fifth in school history with five career victories. Finally, he was the only player under par at the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
In his first year, 2006-07, as the Bruins' assistant coach, Freeman coached the UCLA Blue Team, which won the Cougar Invitational and and the Cal State Bakersfield Spring Invitational. Senior Chris Heintz won the Cougar event, and at the Bakersfield tournament, the Blue Team scorched the course for a score of 25-under par with sophomore Lucas Lee capturing medalist honors at 14-under par.
Seven years ago, Freeman spent the season as Oklahoma's men's assistant coach. In 2005-06, the Sooners finished 29th at the NCAA Championship after placing seventh in the NCAA Central Regional. Oklahoma also won its first Big 12 Conference team title since Freeman's sophomore year as all five players finished among the Top 15 individuals.
Prior to his appointment at OU, Freeman served the previous three seasons (2002-05) at Oklahoma City University. As an assistant coach for the men's and women's programs (2002-03), he helped lead OCU to 14 combined titles, including the men's 2003 NAIA Championship.
Following the 2003 season, Freeman was promoted to head coach of the OCU women's program and guided the Stars to their second straight runner-up finish at the NAIA Championship. In his second season, 2004-05, OCU captured the NAIA women's national championship and Freeman was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year. The team set a championship record with a 49-stroke victory.
In two seasons as the OCU women's coach, Freeman mentored eight All-Americans and seven academic All-Americans.
Twice he was voted the NAIA Region VI Women's Golf Coach of the Year (2004 and 2005).
In six of his last 10 seasons as a head coach or assistant, his teams have won either a conference, regional or national championship.
As a player at OU, Freeman enjoyed a fine career, serving as the Sooners' captain for three seasons (1992-94). During his collegiate career, he earned All-Big Eight honors in 1994 and All-Big Eight academic honors in 1993. Freeman was a two-time Bruce Drake Award winner for most improved player and won OU's Jim Begwin Award for leadership and sportsmanship.
Overall, Freeman played in four Big Eight Conference Championships, including the 1992 event in which the Sooners won their first-ever league title. He also participated in four NCAA Regional events and four NCAA Championship tournaments. Of his 51 collegiate appearances, he finished in the Top 30 25 times.
He received his degree in Economics from OU 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.
FREEMAN'S UCLA RECORD