When Wake Forest was looking for a coach to lead the men's golf into the future, it turned to someone who is a part of the program's glorious past.
Jerry Haas, a former Wake Forest All-American, was named head coach in 1997-98 and is in his 24th season as head coach of his alma mater. Haas has returned Wake Forest golf to its place among the nation's elite programs.
Haas is a long-standing member of the Wake Forest golf family, and Wake Forest golf is a big part of the Haas family.
Jerry's brother, Jay Haas, led Wake Forest to back-to-back NCAA championships in the 1970s. Bill Haas -- Jay's son and Jerry's nephew -- played for the Deacons from 2001 to 2004, earning National Player of the Year honors two times and All-ACC honors four times before going on to win the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour.
Haas is a former member of the PGA Tour, playing in 115 events from 1990-92 as well as in 1995. He is also a veteran of the Nike Tour (now the Web.com Tour) and the European Tour. Haas won three times on the Nike tour in 1994 and finished ninth on the money list that season.
Haas has coached a number of players who are enjoying the life of professional golf. Bill Haas and Webb Simpson are currently two of the hottest golfers on the PGA Tour. They were joined in 2011 by Kyle Reifers, who played for the Deacons from 2003-06. In addition, Brendan Gielow, Travis Wadkins, Lee Bedford and Will Zalatoris have played on the Korn Ferry Tour.
When Haas returned to the Wake Forest campus 22 years ago, the men's golf program was in need of a major rebuilding project. The program was distant from the high standards set by former coach Jesse Haddock and Haddock's first star, Arnold Palmer. Haas was named head coach of the Deacons on September 1, 1997, by Director of Athletics, Ron Wellman.
"Jerry possesses the background and qualifications that we were seeking in a coach," Wellman said at his hiring. "He understands Wake Forest and shares the same high ambitions that we have for our men's golf program. We are confident that he will do an outstanding job as head coach."
Haas has rebuilt the Wake Forest program back into a perennial contender for ACC and NCAA championships. His Deacons have finished in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships four times since 2001. Under Haas, Wake Forest has been a fixture in the national rankings, including a No. 1 ranking in 2001.
Over the last 22 years, the Deacons have won 35 tournaments, including three NCAA Regionals. Despite the success, Haas' appetite for ACC and NCAA titles continues to grow as he has put together a string of blue-chip recruiting classes.
Although the 2019-20 season was cut short in March, the Deacons were still able to capture one team title and one individual title. They finished the season ranked No. 5 in Golfstat and No. 6 in Golfweek.
In the 208-19 season, the Deacs won five times, their most victories in a season since 1983-84, and were ranked in the top five nationally for most of the season. Led by All-Americans Cameron Young, Lee Detmer and Alex Fitzpatrick, and ACC Freshman of the Year Eugenio Chacarra, Wake Forest reached the match play portion of the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. The Deacs also shattered the school scoring average record by over four strokes per round.
The Deacs posted two victories in 2017-18, as Young posted the third-best scoring average in program history. In 2016-17, Wake Forest was led by ACC Player of the Year Will Zalatoris, who was a consensus first-team All-American. The Deacs posted three victories had had three All-ACC honorees, their most since 2004.
The 2015-16 season saw the Deacons make their mark on the national scene. They won four tournaments, including a school record three fall victories, and ended the fall with a No. 2 national ranking. The Deacons won three individual titles during the fall, two by Young and one by Zalatoris. Wake Forest concluded the season with its first appearance at the NCAA Championships in seven years, fielding a lineup that included two sophomores and two freshmen.
The 2015 team was led by All-ACC selection Zalatoris and was highlighted by three team victories.
The 2011 season was a strong one for Haas and the Deacs. The team recorded seven top-5 finishes, including three runner-up finishes. Lee Bedford and Evan Beck became the second-straight pair of Demon Deacons to earn All-America and All-ACC honors in the same season under Haas. as Bedford was joined by Brendan Gielow during the 2010 season.
In 2010, Haas led the Deacs to a victory at the Wexford Intercollegiate and a third place showing at the ACC Championship, which was the highest finish since 2004. A year earlier, he guided the team to a pair of double-digit victories and a fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA Championship.
Gielow was another one of Haas' top recruits as he came to Wake Forest in 2006 and began a tremendous career that culminated with 2010 Byron Nelson Award. Gielow also earned PING All-America honors, becoming the sixth Demon Deacon to earn All-American honors under Haas.
In 2008, Simpson completed one of the best career's in Wake Forest history, earning first team All-America honors, making him just the sixth Demon Deacon earn All-American honors four-times.
After graduation, Simpson made an immediate impact on the Nationwide Tour, finishing 45th on the money list in just six starts. Then like fellow Wake Forest All-American Kyle Reifers in 2006, Simpson successfully made it through PGA Tour Q-School in his first try. There was no doubt that Haas' professional experience helped guide both players.
The 2003-04 season was a memorable one for Haas. Then-freshman Sean Moore won individual medalist honors at the ACC Championships. Bill Haas broke a school record for tournament victories (10) and an NCAA record for scoring average. Haas finished second at the NCAA Championships, gained his diploma, and headed off to play in PGA and Nationwide Tour events.
The 2002-03 Demon Deacons captured four team titles, including the International Collegiate, The Ridges/Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, the Tulane Invitational and Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational. Wake Forest ranked among the top five teams nationally all season long and tied for fourth at NCAAs -- its best finish in six seasons.
With a squad that returned every letter winner from the previous season, the 2001-02 team reached a national ranking of No. 1 in the fall. The Deacons finished second in two major events - the Ping-Golfweek Preview and the Jerry Pate National Collegiate - to earn the top spot in the rankings. The spring season proved to be nearly as successful, as the Deacons won two tournaments - the Birkdale Collegiate and The Intercollegiate - and posted six top-four finishes in seven tournaments.
In 2000-01, Haas' Deacs finished first, second or third during a stretch of five consecutive tournaments during the spring. At the NCAA Championships in Durham, N.C., the Deacs were in third place after two rounds, finishing an impressive 10th for a lineup that included one junior, three sophomores and a freshman.
In the 1999-2000 campaign, it was four freshmen and a sophomore that advanced the Demon Deacons to the NCAA Championships for the first time in three years and finished 15th overall.
During Haas' tenure as head coach, WFU has produced 31 All-ACC selections and 19 individual tournament champions. In addition, Bill Haas was a three-time first-team All-America, the 2003 and 2004 ACC Player of the Year as well as the winner of the 2004 Ben Hogan Award.
The nephew of former Masters champion Bob Goalby and the younger brother of current Champions Tour star Jay Haas, golf has been a part of Jerry Haas' life as long as he can remember. He began playing golf as soon as he could pick up a club, hitting the links as early as age two. Under the tutelage of his uncle and brother, Haas quickly developed into one of the premier junior players in the nation, winning the Illinois state high school title as a senior and earning All-America honors.
Haas arrived at Wake Forest in the fall of 1981, almost seven years after his brother helped lead the Deacons to back-to-back NCAA titles. Playing under the legendary Deacon coach Jesse Haddock, Haas enjoyed a stellar collegiate career. He won his first collegiate tournament, the East Tennessee State Invitational, in the fall of 1981 and placed second at two consecutive ACC Championships (1983, `84). He was chosen to the All-ACC squad three straight years (1983-85) and earned All-America honors in each of his four seasons. As a senior in 1985 he finished 18th at the NCAA Championships and was named a second-team All-American.
While at WFU, Haas continued to make his mark in the world of amateur golf, winning the Illinois Amateur title in 1982 and 1984 and advancing to the semifinals of the 1984 U.S. Amateur Championship. He qualified to play in the 1985 Masters, where he finished an impressive 31st. Haas was also selected as a member of the 1985 U.S. Walker Cup Team.
Haas has continued to play, as time allows, during his coaching tenure. He advanced through qualifying rounds to participate in the 2002 U.S Open at Bethpage Black and the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah, where he was paired with his brother, Jay Haas, for the first two rounds. He was medalist in the 2009 Western NC Pro-Pro Championship with Davidson Coach Tim Straub (WFU 1989).
He won the 2012 South Carolina Open, shooting 67-69-69, carding a 69.18 scoring average for the year and was runner-up for the 2012 Sectional Player of the Year. In September 2013, a week after his 50th birthday, Haas played in the PGA Champions Tour Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, shooting rounds of 68-79-72 and finishing tied for 35th. In December of 2013, he won the Carolinas Section Pro-Pro at 25-under par. Most recently, Haas qualified for the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, his first senior major. This past summer, Haas played the Wyndham Championship, Greensboro's stop on the PGA Tour, where he competed alongside three of former players, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson and Kyle Reifers. In 2015, Haas won the Carolinas Open, and won it again this past summer, 2018, becoming the oldest player to win it, at age 54. Additionally, Haas was T-19 at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open Champions event this past summer and was the runner-up at the Section Championship at Harbour Town. He won the Johnny Palmer Award for the best stroke average in the section with a 69.2.
Haas runs one of the best junior camps in the country, having over 150 campers go on to play at the D1 level throughout the 22 years of the camp.
Haas graduated from Wake Forest in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in speech communication and set out to join the "family business." He spent nine years playing professional golf, including two years on the European Tour, three years on the Nike Tour, and four years on the PGA Tour. He played in over 115 PGA events between 1990 and 1995, earning several top 25 finishes and taking home over $319,000 in prize money. He also posted an outstanding season on the Nike Tour in 1994, winning three tournament titles and placing ninth on the tour money list to earn his PGA exemption.
Haas left the professional golf ranks in 1997 and spent a year as a commentator for The Golf Channel and a teaching professional at the Yorktown Golf Club in his hometown of Belleville, Ill. before accepting the position at Wake Forest.
Haas and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Winston-Salem. They have two children, Percy and Kyle.
Aaron O’Callaghan is entering his third season as the Demon Deacons' associate head coach in 2020-21, coming to Wake Forest in July 2018 after four seasons at Louisville. The Deacons have not finished outside the top five in any tournament appearance since O'Callaghan's arrival.
O'Callaghan's impact at Wake Forest was seen immediately during his first season with the program. The Demon Deacons won five times, their most in a season since 1983-84, and were ranked in the top five nationally for most of the season. Wake Forest reached the match play portion of the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history and broke the school scoring average record by over four shots per round.
In his four seasons at Louisville, O’Callaghan helped the Cardinals to four team victories, three NCAA Regional appearances and a 14th place finish at the 2016 NCAA Championship. Among the players he coached at UL was two-time ACC Champion Robin Sciot-Siegrist.
Prior to joining the coaching staff at Louisville, O’Callaghan was the top assistant golf professional at the Baton Rouge Country Club in Baton Rouge, La., for four years.
As a player, O’Callaghan was an elite junior player in his native Ireland. He won the 2004 Irish Boys U18 Championship, was the recipient of the 2003-04 Jacques Leglise Trophy and was named the 2005 Ireland Junior Sports Star of the Year. He represented Ireland in European and international competitions between 2001-07, including on the Great Britain and Ireland boys team.
O’Callaghan played collegiate golf at Southeastern Louisiana from 2005-09, winning twice and earning first-team All-Southland Conference accolades in 2007. As a professional, he advanced to the second stage of the 2011 European Tour Qualifying School.
Eddie Brescher returns for his third season directing the Southern Miss men’s golf program and has seen the program improve each season during his tenure.
Brescher took over for Jerry Weeks, who retired following 12 years at the helm of the program, after working five seasons as assistant men's golf coach and three seasons as an assistant for the women’s golf program at Southern Miss. He also served as interim women’s coach from December of 2017 to the conclusion of that spring season.
In his first season at the helm of the program in 2018-19, Brescher increased the number of team victories from 33 to 55 and his squad posted a pair of team championships as they collected the Sam Hall Intercollegiate and LaTour Collegiate titles. It was the first team wins for the program since 2014.
In an abbreviated season during his second year due to COVID-19, the Golden Eagles posted 69 team wins in only eight tournaments that saw them also finish top three during three different events. In addition, the program enjoyed its top two stroke leaders in history as freshman Robbie Latter posted a 72.29 stroke average over 24 rounds, while Brice Wilkinson added a 72.46 stroke average over 24 rounds as well.
Brescher has also hit the recruiting trail hard, bringing in quality golfers from all around the world. His freshman class of Latter and Thongpipat Rattanayanon last season combined for the best freshman class according to Golfstat, in terms of lowest scoring average.
Brescher came to Southern Miss after spending two years as the head men's and women's golf coach at Millsaps College. While there, Brescher led the Majors to a ranking as high as No. 37 ranking, which was the best in school history. He also had two team victories, two SAA All-Conference players, six All-Tournament Team selections and six academic honor roll golfers.
Brescher, a former letterwinner at Southeastern Louisiana, also earned Southland Conference All-Academic honors.
Following his collegiate playing career, Brescher served as a Graduate Assistant at Southeastern Louisiana. During that time, Brescher helped with recruiting, arranging team practices and implementing team workouts. The Lions won two tournaments and finished third overall in the conference tournament during his tenure as a graduate assistant.
The Ponchatoula, La., native then spent two years at the professional level, competing on the Adams and Hooters Golf Tours, as well as qualifying stages of the PGA Tour Q School. While as a professional, Brescher finished in sixth-place at the Hooters Tour McCormick, S.C., event (12-under) while finishing two-under par at the 2010 PGA Tour Q-School First Stage (missing the Second Stage by one shot). He also had stint as a caddy for Casey Crain on the 2011 Nationwide Tour.
Upon regaining his amateur status in 2011, Brescher has made a name for himself amongst amateur golfers. He is a three-time Mississippi Open Champion (2013, 2014, 2017), while also winning the 2017 Mississippi Four Ball championship, setting a record for 18 hole (59) and 36 holes (123). Brescher collected the Mississippi State Amateur runner-up three times (2013, 2014, 2015) and was the Mississippi Golf Association Player of the Year runner-up on three occasions (2012, 2013, 2014). In addition, Brescher was a two-time participant in the USGA Men’s State Team (2012, 2014) and was ranked the No. 2 golf in Mississippi from 2013-15 by Scratchplayers.org.
Brescher's other notable amateur performances include a fourth-place finish at the 2008 Labor Day Invitational, fifth-place at the 2013 Magnolia Amateur, sixth at both the 2009 Louisiana State Amateur and 2012 Magnolia Amateur, 10th at the 2008 Spirit of America (Team Champions) and 2009 New Year Invitational and 15th at the 2014 New Year Invitational.
His duties while as a Golden Eagle assistant specifically included recruiting prospective student-athletes, but also has helped oversee budget management, equipment orders, fundraising, practice and competitive tournament schedules and monitoring academic progress.
Brescher received his bachelor's degree in Marketing in 2007 and his MBA in Management in 2009 from Southeastern Louisiana University. He is married to the former Lauren Mayer. The couple have one son, Bowen, and one daughter, Georgia Rose.
Entering his third year at the helm of the High Point University men’s golf program, Brady Gregor has led the Panthers to unprecedented success. After his first season culminated with a 32-stroke improvement in the Big South Championship, he helped guide HPU to a program-best third-place finish in 2018. Along with that third-place finish, Gregor coached Brendan MacDougall to the program’s first Big South Championship medalist honor and became the first Panther in the program’s Division I era to advance to an NCAA Regional.
In addition, Jerry Haas Golf Camp ONLY employs coaches who are PASSIONATE about teaching.