Former University of Colorado golfer Derek Tolan is returning to his alma mater as the interim assistant coach for the Buffaloes for the spring portion of the 2019-20 season, head coach Roy Edwards announced Tuesday.
Tolan, 34, has been playing professionally the last 10 years since he last teed it up for the Buffs in the spring of 2009; he is filling a midseason vacancy created last month when CU’s assistant coach of the last five seasons, Pat Grady (a teammate of Tolan’s) decided to return to his private CPA business.
“It means everything in the world to me to be part of CU again, not just the golf program but the university and athletic department as a whole,” Tolan said. ‘I was recruited by Mark Simpson as a player and played for Roy Edwards for three years, so this is a unique opportunity to be able to continue the values of both of them, but also to be able to apply my knowledge as well. I ’ve been in the ring for decades now and have successes and failures at all levels. It’s important for me to apply that knowledge to the players at CU, and feel so fortunate to have this opportunity.”
“We are excited to add Derek as our assistant coach for the remainder of the season,” Edwards said. “Hiring a permanent replacement for Pat was going to be very difficult in the middle of the season and we feel very fortunate Derek agreed to join us on an interim basis as he transitions from being a playing professional to a full-time instructor.
“Derek was a great player here and reached a high level of success as a professional golfer. He has strong institutional and team knowledge and we expect him to really help us.”
For his CU career (four-year letterman from 2006-09), Tolan finished third in the most rounds played (151), and was 13th in career stroke average (74.19). He tied for second in both the most top 10 finishes (18) and top 20 efforts (26) in school history (he was 11th with five top five performances). He had 89.8 percent of his career rounds count toward team scoring and at the time became just the fifth CU player to have qualified to play in four NCAA Championships. As a senior, he posted a 71.9 stroke average, leading the team in recording the second-best in school history at the time. He was selected as the school’s Male Career Athletic Achievement Award winner for all sports, and the co-Male Athlete of the Year (with Grady). An honorable mention All-American by Golfweek and the GCAA, he also earned PING All-Central Region honors, All-Big 12 honors and All-Big 12 Tournament Team accolades.
Tolan was a national celebrity back in 2002, when he made history playing as a 16-year old in the U.S. Open at Bethpage on Long Island, N.Y. He missed the cut on the tough Bethpage Black course after earning his way into the field by tying for second in the local qualifying (68) and placing second in the sectional qualifying (70-69—139). Later that summer, he became the first golfer in United States Golf Association history to have played in the U.S. Open, the U.S. Public Links Championship, the U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Amateur in the same year, doing so between June and August.
Edwards said a search for a full-time assistant coach will commence later in the spring, with a targeted start date in June, ahead of the summer amateur schedule. In addition, Grady will return as a volunteer assistant in the fall; that role is currently held by Wilson Belk, who graduated last May after lettering four years for Edwards.