Now in his ninth campaign as UCF's head coach, Nick Clinard has built the program into one of the nation's best. His Knights are now regulars in the postseason and the program is a fixture in the national rankings.
In addition to guiding the Knights to one trip to the NCAA Championship and five NCAA Regional appearances, he has left his mark on every facet of the program. Clinard's recruiting classes are annually ranked among the nation's best. His players have excelled in the classroom and Clinard was also instrumental in the construction of the UCF Practice Facility, which opened in 2009.
The Knights recorded one of the finest campaigns in school history in 2008-09. Clinard's team capped the year by tying for 10th out of 30 squads at the NCAA Championship. UCF advanced to the tournament by taking the title at the NCAA Southeast Regional. The victory was one of four during the campaign for the Knights. For the first time, the Knights claimed the crown at the Conference USA Championship. The team was also victorious at The Hummingbird Intercollegiate and the Rio Pinar Invitational.
The Knights finished in the top five in nine of their 13 events during the year. UCF spent nearly the entire season ranked in the top-25 nationally. The squad concluded the year ranked 15th.
For his efforts, Clinard was tabbed as Eaton/Golf Pride Southeast Region Coach of the Year. He was also selected as the C-USA Coach of the Year. Several of his golfers received individual honors, including Blayne Barber and Simon Ward. A national all-freshman team pick, Barber was tabbed as the C-USA Golfer and Freshman of the Year, while Ward was named the league's newcomer of the year.
Clinard, who arrived at UCF in 2001, has also guided his squads to regional play in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
During 2007-08, the Knights won two titles and spent the majority of the campaign in the top 25 of the national rankings. In the spring, Clinard's team was victorious at the Rio Pinar Invitational and the UK Bluegrass Invitational. Two Knights garnered individual honors for their play as Greg Forest and David Johnson were All-Conference USA First Team picks. Johnson was also named the league's newcomer of the year.
In 2006-07, the Knights posted four top-five finishes and concluded the campaign ranked 39th nationally. UCF received an at-large invitation to the NCAA East Regional. Nuno Henriques was honored for his individual efforts, earning a spot on the All-C-USA Freshman Team.
In their first year in the league, the Knights finished second at the 2006 C-USA Championship. Kyle Davis and Greg Forest both were selected to the all-freshman team. After finishing second at the event, Sonny Nimkhum participated in the NCAA East Regional, which was held at the Lake Nona Country Club in Orlando.
Clinard's players have also fared well in the classroom. In the Knights' fours years in C-USA, UCF men's golfers have been named to the league's academic honor roll on 33 occasions. Since Clinard's arrival at UCF, four Knights have garnered All-America scholar recognition from the Golf Coaches Association of America, including Giwon Suh in 2007.
During the 2004-05 season, Barry Roof was named the Atlantic Sun's Golfer of the Year after claiming medalist honors at the league championship. His victory marked the second-consecutive year that one of Clinard's players took home medalist honors at the A-Sun Championship. Stefan Wistorf posted the lowest score in the event's history en route to winning the individual title in 2003. The Knights won two tournaments in 2003-04, including the A-Sun Championship. The team registered seven top-three finishes, earning Clinard A-Sun Coach of the Year honors.
Clinard has brought several premier prep players to UCF. In 2004, the Junior Golf Scoreboard rated his recruiting class as the best in the nation.
That same year, Clinard's dream of hosting the best invitational in college golf was realized when the inaugural Isleworth-UCF Collegiate Invitational was contested in nearby Windermere. Each year, the event features 18 of the best programs in the country, including the Knights.
With Wistorf's individual victory in 2003, the Knights placed third at the A-Sun Championship. In Clinard's first year at UCF, his squad finished fourth at the event in 2002.
Clinard played on the collegiate level at Wake Forest from 1992-95. He was a member of the Demon Deacons' 1993-94 squad that was ranked as high as second nationally and finished 11th at the NCAA Championship. During his senior year, he served as the team's captain. He graduated in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in speech communications.
Following his time at Wake Forest, Clinard played professional golf for five years. He spent considerable time on the NGA/Hooters Tour and was an active participant on the Nike Tour. To help support his playing ambitions, he served as an assistant golf professional for swing guru Hank Haney in McKinney, Texas. During the winters and offseason, Clinard honed his teaching skills with Haney and also helped conduct tournaments on the Future Collegians World Tour, the second-largest junior golf tour in the country.
Clinard attended Ashbrook High School in Gastonia, N.C. A Rolex Junior All-America selection, he won seven American Junior Golf Association events, the North Carolina Junior Championship and many other regional events. His seven AJGA victories places him in a tie for fifth in wins on the tour, one shy of Tiger Woods and five behind Phil Mickelson, the all-time leader in victories.
Clinard is married to the former Susan Roberts. The couple has two daughters, Chloe and Peyton.