Knights looking for fourth league title in five years.
Since taking the helm of the UCF men's golf program on July 23, 2009, head coach Bryce Wallor has guided a program that is clearly among the best in the country. Wallor has led the Knights to incredible success. His team has claimed two Conference USA Championship titles, appeared in three NCAA Regionals and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championship.
In 2011-12, the Knights enjoyed one of the finest campaigns in program history. UCF won three tournament titles, spent the entire year in ranked among the top 25 nationally and after a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Regional in Stanford, Calif., moved on to the NCAA Championship in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The championship appearance was the fifth in school history for the Knights, who tied for 19th at the tournament.
The Knights participated in 12 tournaments during the year and had nine top-five finishes. Wallor's team opened the campaign by taking the title at the Northern Intercollegiate in Illinois and then followed up by finishing first at the Adams Cup of Newport in Rhode Island. After the two victories, UCF moved to No. 6 in the national rankings. Brad Schneider, Ricardo Gouveia and Jose Joia were all selected to the PING All-Southeast Region team. Gouveia was named the C-USA Newcomer of the Year, and joined Schneider on the all-league first team. Joia and Greg Eason, who took medalist honors at the conference championship, were named to the All-C-USA Second Team.
Wallor's team shined in 2010-11, winning three tournament titles, including the crown at the C-USA Championship in Texarkana, Ark. UCF enjoyed success from the start of the campaign, taking the title at its second tournament of the year, the Adams Cup of Newport in Rhode Island. In addition to the league championship, the Knights also finished first at the Rio Pinar Invitational in Orlando during the spring. As a result of claiming the C-USA title, the Knights received the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals. The Knights earned the No. 6 seed at the regional in nearby Ocala.
UCF was led by an impressive rookie and a talented veteran during the year. Wallor helped Eason develop into one of the top young golfers in the nation. The C-USA Freshman of the Year, Eason played in all 11 tournaments and had seven top-10 showings. A native of England, he took medalist honors at the Adams Cup of Newport and placed second at the league championship. He was also selected to the All-C-USA Second Team and the league's all-freshman squad. Eason, who tied for 17th at the NCAA Regionals, was UCF's top finisher in all seven spring events.
Connor Arendell, one of two juniors on the Knights, was selected to the All-C-USA First Team. Arendell recorded eight top-20 finishes, and also won an event in the fall. He took medalist honors at UCF's first tournament, the Wolf Run Intercollegiate in Zionsville, Ind.
Wallor's first campaign at UCF was a success in 2009-10. His team, which featured several new contributors, came together at the right time, playing its best golf at the end of the 2009-10 season. The Knights won their home tournament in March, posted a dominating performance in winning the Conference USA Championship title and concluded the year with a strong showing at the NCAA Regionals in Santee, Calif. UCF used a total team effort and hard work to achieve its success. Six different Knights recorded top-10 finishes during the campaign and three different golfers garnered individual accolades from C-USA for their play.
The hard work paid off for the team at its home event, the Rio Pinar Invitational. UCF concluded the 18-team tournament in Orlando at 850 (-14), 19 strokes ahead of second-place Charlotte. Four Knights finished the event in the top-10 individually, led by Schneider, who tied for second at 5-under 211. The field included seven of the top-75 squads in the nation.
Two events later, Wallor's team led from wire-to-wire at the C-USA Championship in nearby Sorrento. The Knights finished the event at 6-under 858, 18 shots ahead of Rice and Southern Miss, who tied for second place. With the title, the Knights earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. Three Knights - Schneider, Nuno Henriques and Arendell - tied for second individually as four of the five UCF golfers recorded top-10 finishes.
UCF finished the year with an impressive performance at the regionals. In its fourth-straight postseason appearance, the team finished sixth out of 13 squads in California. Devin Spies, who tied for 14th, and Schneider, who tied for 18th, posted top-20 showings. Both Henriques and Schneider were named to the All-C-USA Second Team following the league championship. Reid Martin was also recognized by the conference when he earned all-freshman team honors.
Wallor took over the helm of the UCF program after five successful seasons as an assistant coach at Tennessee. During his time with the Volunteers, Wallor helped the program make five trips to the NCAA Regionals, with the squad advancing to the NCAA Championship on three occasions. In 2009, the Vols placed second at the NCAA Northeast Regional and then finished 12th at the NCAA Championship.
In July 2008, Wallor was promoted to Tennessee's director of instruction/player development by head coach Jim Kelson. Tennessee claimed eight tournament championships during Wallor's tenure, including the Southeastern Conference title in 2007.
In 2008-09, the Vols recorded five top-three finishes. The team concluded the year ranked 11th in the Golfstat NCAA Head-to-Head Standings. A pair of Tennessee golfers - David Holmes and Chris Paisley - earned PING All-America honors. Wallor mentored five All-America golfers at Tennessee.
After the 2007-08 campaign, he was selected as a finalist for the Jan Strickland Award, which is presented to the top assistant coach in the nation by the Golf Coaches Association of America. In 2009, Wallor was a semifinalist for the award. From 2000-02, Wallor served as the head coach at Connecticut, where he helped the Huskies improve 47 spots in the national polls. He also worked as an assistant coach at Davidson from 1999-00.
Before starting his coaching career, Wallor was the director of golf instruction at the Narragansett Country Club in Narragansett, R.I., and the Highland Ridge Golf Center in Mansfield, Conn. Additionally, he served as the teaching professional at the Dana Radar Golf Institute in Charlotte, N.C., and as an assistant professional at the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando. Wallor also spent time as a sales representative for the Golfers' Warehouse in Cranston, R.I.
Wallor was a student-athlete at Rhode Island from 1993-98, helping the Rams qualify for the NCAA East Regionals four times. He was team captain as a senior and took medalist honors at the 1997 Bob Toski Invitational. Wallor, who worked as a volunteer assistant coach at Rhode Island in 2002-03, graduated with a bachelor's of arts in communications in 1998.
After concluding his collegiate career, Wallor won the 2002 Rhode Island State Open and competed on the 2003 New England Professional Golf Tour.