IRVING, Texas- For their efforts toward a championship season, the No. 48 UTEP men’s golf team racked up top honors and more in Conference USA awards, including Golfer of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Frederik Dreier, who was the reigning Player of the Year, won the honor again while head coach Scott Lieberwirth earned his first C-USA Coach of the Year.
Dreier and sophomore transfer Aaron Terrazas earned First Team C-USA recognition while junior Charles Corner earned a spot on the Second Team list. The awards are determined by the most recent Golfstat rankings.
All, plus Nicklas Pihl and Andreas Sorensen, were part of the conference championship team that brought UTEP its first Conference USA title and only the second title in program history. The other was a Western Athletic Conference Championship in 1985.
Dreier became the first player in program history and only the third player in Conference USA history to earn back-to-back Player of the Year honors. UAB’s Chris Devlin won it in 1999-2000 and Graeme McDowell earned it again for the Blazers in 2001-2002.
“As a goal, I wanted to win the conference Player of the Year again, it was always in the back of my head, but I never thought about it while I was on the golf course,” Dreier said. “I was just trying to play my game. If my played my best, I knew I could do it again. I was just trying to stick to my golf game and if that was enough then that would be good.”
The ability to lead was what Lieberwirth spoke on with Dreier.
“His [Dreier] leadership the past couple of years has been right up there among the best student-athlete leaders that I’ve been around,” Lieberwirth said. “He’s a great student, great player and a great person too. All of those things are what we’re going to miss about Freddie. There’s not too many players that you’re that sad to see go after four years because its time, but he’s going to be a guy that I’ll defiantly miss being around. He’s meant a lot to this team, to me, and to this program. “
The senior was a staple in the Miners’ line up since his sophomore year, leading the team in top-10 finishes (7) while compiling a 71.3 stroke average this season. He finished in a tie for seventh during the match play portion of the C-USA Championships and defeated his Charlotte opponent, John Gough 2UP in the championship match play.
“I was very honored to win it [Player of the Year] last year, but to win it back-to-back is very special,” Dreier said. “I’ve been practicing hard and fighting hard this year so I’m very happy that it paid off in the end. It’s been a very special year for the team, but to round it out with a conference championship, was very special. I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished as an individual but also with what the team has accomplished.”
Sixth-year head coach Scott Lieberwirth was honored with his first C-USA Coach of the Year award and his sixth overall. He was a five-time WAC Coach of the Year during his eight-year tenure at NM State prior to UTEP.
“It’s special,” Lieberwirth said of the recognition. “This is a great team that we have and it’s always an honor to be recognized by your peers and receive an award like this, but there are no ‘Coaches of the Year’ awards without having good players. A lot of this goes back to them [players], they’ve done such a great job of working very hard and performing at a very high level.
“These awards are defiantly nice from an individual standpoint but we always do preach that we’re looking for team accolades. I consider this a team award as much as anything. These guys [players] did a lot of the legwork in order for this to happen.”
With Lieberwirth at the helm of the program, the Miners won three team titles in the fall season to add to the one team title won in 2015. Before that, the program had not won a tournament title since 2005.
“I’m so happy for Coach Lieberwirth,” Dreier said. “I know how much he wants his team to do well, in school, on the golf course and in our personal life, so he is helping us a lot and is very deserving of that award. He has been great for us this year, all of the guys are really close to him and he’s a great guy as well. There are so many good things to say about him but I’m really happy for him.”
Terrazas, who transferred from Oklahoma and joined the Miners in the spring, earned first team honors after a stellar spring season that saw him as UTEP’s top finisher two times. The sophomore finished at the top of the UTEP scorecard at the John Burns Intercollegiate with 1-over 217 (74-71-72) and then tied with Dreier as the top finisher at the Lone Star Invitational. He finished in the top-50 at the Conference USA Championships at 35th with 4-over 220 (73-73-74) and defeated his Southern Miss opponent, Tyler Young, 1UP in the semifinal match play.
Corner’s breakout season began this spring, where he notched five top-50 finishes, and added four top-10 finishes.The junior topped his regular season run with a sixth-place finish during the stroke play portion of the conference championships with 3-over 219 (73-70-76), leading the team, and defeated both his match play opponents. His clutch 1UP finish against Southern Miss’s Matt Lorenz helped secure UTEP’s victory in the semifinals. Corner was also the top UTEP finisher at the prestigious Western Intercollegiate, edging into the top-10 with 2-over 212 (72-69-71) that earned him a Conference USA Player of the Week honor the week of April 12.
The Miners won the automatic bid to the NCAA Regional tournament beginning May 15, where 81 teams and 45 individuals will be selected to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championship sites.
“I’m just excited for this group to get this championship,” Lieberwirth said. “We’re solely focused on doing what we can to continue our season as long as we can, meaning getting through the Regional and into the National Championship.”
2016-17 CONFERENCE USA MEN’S GOLF AWARDS
Golfer of the Year: Frederik Dreier, UTEP
Freshman of the Year: Ilari Saulo, Middle Tennessee
Coach of the Year: Scott Lieberwirth, UTEP
Joey Savoie, Middle Tennessee
Ian Snyman, North Texas
R.J. Keur, UAB
Frederik Dreier, UTEP
Aaron Terrazas, UTEP
Cory Churchman, North Texas
Thomas Rosenmueller, North Texas
Taylor Eyster, UAB
Charles Corner, UTEP
Zander Lozano, UTSA
John Gough, Charlotte
Matty Lamb, Charlotte
Conor Purcell, Charlotte
Ilari Saulo, Middle Tennessee
Chip Thomas, Middle Tennessee
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