Wallor's Words of Wisdom

Dec. 21, 2011

By Brandon Naidus

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's golf team has experienced a great deal of success in head coach Bryce Wallor's two-and-a-half years with the program. Coming off of the squad's third-consecutive Conference USA title, its second under Wallor, the team won each of its first two tournaments of the 2011-12 campaign. The squad had a medalist in each of those tournaments, as senior Brad Schneider (Valrico, Fla.) earned co-medalist honors at the Northern Intercollegiate and sophomore Ricardo Gouveia (Almancil, Portugal) won medalist honors at the Adams Cup of Newport the following week.

Recently, Wallor sat down to reflect on the fall half of the season and a give a preview for the spring.

What were you most proud of regarding your team?
"This is a new team, we have had some turnover. We had two key losses last year and brought some new faces in here; essentially three new players. Team chemistry is huge, as leaders leave and you bring new people in. The thing I am the most proud of is the way the team worked together and gravitated toward one another in building one another up and trying to support one another. I think we did a great job there. That is why in some of the days where we did not play well, we snapped back real fast."

What was the biggest factor for your early success?
"We have great players. We have talent here. That talent showed itself. We have good golfers. We have guys that work hard. I just think they are good players"

With only one senior and one junior, have the sophomores taken on more of a leadership role?
"Yes. The leadership role has just been across the board. It starts with Brad Schneider, a fifth-year guy at our institution. He is an all-around role model; from academics to athletics to personal. I think he has done an amazing job with our team. I certainly think a lot of guys returning for us, the sophomore class, have stepped up. They have led by example and pointed out what we need to do."

How did you keep the players level headed after such a great start?
"We looked at our events and gauged the talent level and teams participating in the events. Golf is a game where a player will win one week and miss the cut the next week, even at the highest level, the PGA Tour. We were just trying to keep the mindset of the past is the past. Once you have accomplished something, let's look at the next task ahead of us and how we can build and better ourselves. We try to forget really quickly that we won a golf tournament. We think of the positives, but also what do we have to do to prepare for the next week. That is the mentality we took."

How was the team able to succeed with a talented player, Greg Eason, missing time due to injury?
"Greg (Eason) had a lot to do with our success in that. He brings such a positive attitude. He brings a smiling face every day to practice. He is someone that is easy to be around. He did a good job building up others guys and tells them they are going to play well. I certainly think that the great play by our two newcomers Ricardo (Gouveia) and Jose (Joia) (Lagoa, Portugal) with Brad Schneider as well having some wins helped. I just think that the chemistry and success of our group made other players believe they can do this."

Why do you think Ricardo Gouveia and Jose Joia were so successful this fall?
"They have been in the United States a year. They transferred from Lynn. They already had the been-there-and-done-that of being in the United States. They were comfortable. They had so much success in their other environment that they felt confident that they would be successful here."

Recently, the team volunteered at the Orlando Day Nursery. What are your thoughts on the importance of giving back to the community?
"I think that comes from the vision of our athletic department. Our athletic department is about growing our student-athletes. We are what we are because people have given us an opportunity. From a fundraising standpoint, people purchasing tickets to support our athletic teams. So it is our athletics department vision that we give back to the community. We do that through our Champs Life Skills Program here with Marcus Sedberry, we do some team-building exercises; we go out in the community and try to meet people and do things for people, as they have done for us. I think it is a great teaching tool to our student-athletes about what the world is really like. Sometimes they are a little sheltered here and it kind of opens their eyes a little bit into what our community faces on a daily basis and how special their opportunity is here."

What were some of the things that you told the team following your last tournament of the fall, the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational?
"We do individual meetings at the end of the year. As a team, I addressed how happy I was with their performance. One: their work ethic. Two: their determination. We had a couple of opportunities where we started off poor in events and a lot of guys were talking about what we could do to better ourselves, do in the second round, come back and climb the ladder. As a coach, if you have a team with an attitude like that, you just could not be happier. It is just a kind of never-say-die thing around here. I addressed them about that. Those are skills or qualities in life that will help you in anything you do, whether it is business or family. I thought if we continue to do those things, we would have a successful off-season and come right back in the spring ready to play."

What did you tell your team to do in order to be ready for the spring?
"A lot of things are on an individual basis. We use the fall for an evaluation period. We really watch our guys perform and try to measure their strengths and the areas where they need to improve. We talk about those areas for improvement and how they need to practice or get better at whatever it is in those areas. We will use from the end of the season for one-on-one skill instruction and the beginning of the spring semester to fix, tighten and work on those areas and then we go back to playing golf again. Every off-season is about training the person. You train the team by training the individual. It is not a game where we are running a team unit, where we are running scripted plays. It is about each individual, how we better them and how they come out in the spring a better player. That is what helps our team."

The Knights will open their spring half of the season with the Gator Invitational. The two-day tournament begins Feb. 11 in Gainesville, Fla.