Former Edmond Memorial and Oklahoma golfer Derek Freeman is in his fourth season as the head coach at UCLA. Freeman, who spent time as an assistant at OU and head coach at Oklahoma City University, joined the Bruins in 2006 as an assistant before being promoted to head coach in 2007. The Bruins finished atop the leaderboard after three days of stroke play but were upset by Duke, 3-1-1, in the first round of match play on Friday.
How did your experience at OCU help form you as a coach?
“You can't take anything for granted. No matter what the size of your program, no matter what you have access to, no matter what your alumni base, you have to work hard. That's what this game is built on, working hard, making sure you're doing the right thing. I learned that early on in my coaching career, and that's what I build my teams on.”
Were you excited to bring your team to your home state for the national championship tournament?
“Absolutely. It was great to come back and see friendly faces in Oklahoma. It was fun to come back, we enjoyed it, but unfortunately it didn't turn out like we would want it to.”
Is there something in particular that didn't click?
“We felt so good about the stroke play portion of it, but when you come into match play, it's so different, it doesn't matter what you've done the past three days. It's about right now at this moment and playing one guy. Momentum is a huge factor, and I didn't feel like we had any momentum all day.”
How frustrating is it? Because it's like a marathon, but one bad day can send you home.
“Some of our guys have been struggling throughout the week with their swings, and you don't have the time to work and grind it out like you need to because you have to save so much energy over a seven-day period. We just didn't do a good job of being able to handle the pressure of not hitting it well but being able to score well.”
When did you start wearing the tie? How did that come about?
“I started wearing the tie when I was named the head coach at UCLA. Every tournament round for four years now, it's kind of a tradition at UCLA. But we've got to figure out if it's good luck or bad luck.”