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Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby PonyPride » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:29 am

From SMUMustangs.com:

Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

DALLAS (SMU) – Chris Parra, who served five-plus seasons as an SMU assistant coach and the past season serving as interim head coach, will take over the reins as head coach of the men's golf program on a full-time basis, Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced this week.

While the spring season was cut short, SMU finished the year ranked No. 12, the best final GolfStat ranking in school history, and posted two team wins and a runner-up finish in four fall events. Noah Goodwin, Justin Thompson and Mac Meissner ranked among the United States' top 12 collegiate golfers in the Arnold Palmer Cup rankings, making SMU the only school to have three players rank among the top-25 men in the United States.

In the classroom, the men's golf team posted the highest Fall Term GPA among all men's programs on the Hilltop.

"Over the past 18 months, I've watched Coach Parra help navigate the SMU Golf program through some difficult times," said Hart. "He handled each day and challenge with grace and careful thought, always putting the program and our student-athletes first. He has consistently demonstrated the values and leadership characteristics that we look for in our head coaches. Among Coach Parra's many talents is his ability to connect with people and, in particular, motivate and inspire our student-athletes to achieve their potential on the course, in the classroom and in life."

"I can't thank everyone enough for the support and belief in me to coach these fine young men," said Parra. "I'm really excited to serve as a head coach of the SMU Men's Golf Team. It is a dream come true to coach where I grew up and played. This team is a tight family with a chance to do some great things in college golf, and, more importantly, life. I receive so much joy from coaching these guys on and off the course and I'm blessed to get this opportunity."

Parra's tenure as an assistant coach was highlighted by success at the NCAA Championships, producing the program's first NCAA Individual Champion in 2015, when Bryson DeChambeau claimed medalist honors at the NCAA Championships, and reaching the match-play quarterfinals in 2019 after winning a playoff with Clemson for a spot in the final eight. The Mustangs also captured the program's first NCAA Regional Championship in 2015, winning the Noblesville (Ind.) Regional.

Since arriving on campus in 2014, Parra has coached eight All-American Athletic Conference selections, two AAC Golfers of the Year (DeChambeau, 2015; Mac Meissner 2019), four All-Americans, and been a part of eight tournament wins.

In 2018-19, the Mustangs reached the NCAA Championship Quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 seed Oklahoma State. The squad had four victories on the season, including first collegiate wins for Mac Meissner and Ollie Osborne. The team finished second at the conference tournament, where Meissner claimed the individual title and Player of the Year. Both Meissner and Noah Goodwin were named to the All-Conference Team, All-Region Team and Third Team All-America and All-America Honorable Mention respectively.

In 2017-18, the team finished top-10 at six events. The Mustangs placed second at the conference championships for the third time since joining The American in 2014, with Meissner earning Freshman of the Year. Meissner went on to the NCAA Norman Regional where he finished with a share of 21st place.

In 2016-17, the Mustangs finished top-10 in five events, including a fourth-place finish at the Clemson Invitational (April 7-9) and a fifth-place finish at the Southwestern Invitational (Feb. 27-28). Gray Townsend earned his first collegiate tournament win, and recorded a career-low tournament score of 207 (-9, 70-69-68) at the Marquette Invitational.

In his second season on the Hilltop, Parra helped lead the SMU men's golf team to two victories, the 2015 Erin Hills Intercollegiate and the Farms Collegiate Invitational. At Erin Hills, SMU topped known powerhouse programs, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Ole Miss. At The Farms, the Mustangs were the only team to shoot under par, finishing 8-under with a three-round score of 856. SMU finished 29 strokes ahead of second-place San Francisco. Academically, the team was named a 2016 All-Academic team, while Andrew Buchanan and Ryan Burgess received Division I Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars honors, both being selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

In 2015, the Mustangs posted their second-consecutive, top-three American Athletic Conference Championship finish, coming in second. SMU pushed forward to NCAA play, where the Mustangs tied No. 4 Illinois for the win at the NCAA Noblesville Regional, before a 14th-place team finish in the championship. Including the NCAA regional, SMU won three events.

The Irving, Texas, native played for the Mustangs from 1996-98, earning a tournament win in 1997 at the UTSA Invitational, and turned pro in 1999.

Parra competed professionally for 14 years (1999-2014), spending most of his career on what is now known as the Korn Ferry Tour. He played in 36 events on the PGA Tour's developmental circuit, earning one top-10 finish and four top-25 finishes. His best finish came in 2010, where he finished tied for seventh at the Fort Smith Classic. In 2006, Parra made his first PGA Tour appearance in the Byron Nelson Championship, where he made the cut and finished 72nd overall. Later in his professional career, he played in the LatinoAm and the PGA Canada Tour. At the 2013 U.S. Open Local Sectional Qualifying, Parra carded a 70 to tie for second.

What They're Saying About Chris Parra:
JC Deacon, Head Men's Golf Coach, Florida
"Chris Parra is one of the really good guys in our game. He's always smiling and genuinely happy when others are successful. He's been a great player and more importantly a great friend for a long time. SMU will continue to be a factor with Chris leading the way."

Jake Harrington, Director of Golf and Head Coach, Arkansas-Little Rock
"I am extremely happy for Chris and the SMU golfing family. When you get to know Coach Parra, you quickly realize that he is extremely passionate about three things: his family, his players and SMU. Those core values coupled with a great golfing background and a genuine care for everyone he meets will help him continue to elevate SMU Golf for many years to come."
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby ponyupgolffan » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:11 pm

There were several high quality D1 coaches interested with experience. At least two from SEC and one from Big 12. No one in athletic department reached out to them. No one in athletic department even asked the current players on the team for their input before making the decision. If you follow the team closely, it makes you question if the athletic department wants this team to excel. Many believe that "good enough" is acceptable to them and this decision supports that thinking.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby redpony » Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:22 am

a big part of the problem is that we have a lazy incompetent AD. Plus our admin. is very happy with mediocre sports programs. They have no desire to be top level as that would create exposure they do not want.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby Charleston Pony » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:18 pm

I would assume this was also in large part a budget issue?
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Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby smupony94 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:40 pm

Charleston Pony wrote:I would assume this was also in large part a budget issue?
No, he’s a great hire

Take a look at his recruits

Red just being his grumpy self and then you have a random person posting unsubstantiated claims that for some reason everyone believes
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby redpony » Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:53 am

Ha, not grumpy in fact rarely grumpy. However, I do get irritated when our AD is too lazy and incompetent to at least interview a few prospective coaches. IMO he totally failed to do due diligence.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby smupony94 » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:39 am

redpony wrote:Ha, not grumpy in fact rarely grumpy. However, I do get irritated when our AD is too lazy and incompetent to at least interview a few prospective coaches. IMO he totally failed to do due diligence.
You know this how?
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby Charleston Pony » Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:53 am

From previous posts, I got the impression ponyupgolffan was a relative or close friend of someone on the golf team. I would agree that recruiting is the most important part of a college coach's job so if Chris is responsible for the current roster, he's done a pretty good job.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby Lefty » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:39 am

redpony wrote:Ha, not grumpy in fact rarely grumpy. However, I do get irritated when our AD is too lazy and incompetent to at least interview a few prospective coaches. IMO he totally failed to do due diligence.

Without naming names, how many coaches were interviewed? And how do you know?

We finished the year #12 in the country. He's doing something right.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby EastStang » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:35 am

Also, given the disruption with the prior coach losing his wife and having to step down due to family, a little stability is not a bad thing. We have a great recruiting class. Let's give the man a chance. Top 20 finish without even playing in the tournament where we finished in the top 8 last year and losing to the eventual champion. Our golf program is one of our bright spots. Several players on the tour and three US Amateur champions in the last decade. Given our roster, I'm sure a lot of coaches would like this job.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby ponyupgolffan » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:22 pm

Since I was labeled, the “random person posting unsubstantiated claims,” in earlier post, here you go:

Seen excerpts of email sent to athletic director about decision.

Seen excerpts of email response from athletic director.

Seen excerpts of communications from players on their thoughts about decision.

Heard from players no end-of-year evaluation was conducted by athletic department as in previous years which invited them to provide feedback so improvements could be made. No player was consulted prior to decision by athletic director.

Seen excerpts of communications from multiple parents of players on team.

Seen excerpt of communication from an interested coach, many assume #1 candidate had there been an actual search. Interested coach stated he was never contacted by anyone in athletic department. Interested coach had made it known and information had been shared with the appropriate individuals in athletic department.

Seen excerpt of communication from a former athletic department employee who had worked for athletic director. Prior to actual decision, former employee predicted athletic director would hire assistant coach because it would be a quick and easy thing to do and there would be no search.

Seen excerpt of communication from a third-party individual that athletic director had told a major supporter of golf program “all players and parents were onboard with decision to hire.”

One day, one day, one day, more information, like this, will come out about:

how assistant coach tried to persuade several players to call a team meeting and have them vote on whether they wanted head coach to return and to also support him as new head coach. That happened in Jan while head coach was still on university leave. Several key players would then take results to athletic director. Team meeting held but no official vote based on advice of a few parents who intervened. Head coach resigned few weeks later.

how former head coach, while on paid leave, traveled to Bahamas in Nov for a golfing trip with his friends at the exact time the team was playing there in a tournament.

Players on team are talented and care about each other so they put up with drama stated above.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby 78pony » Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:57 pm

ponyupgolffan wrote:Since I was labeled, the “random person posting unsubstantiated claims,” in earlier post, here you go:

Seen excerpts of email sent to athletic director about decision.

Seen excerpts of email response from athletic director.

Seen excerpts of communications from players on their thoughts about decision.

Heard from players no end-of-year evaluation was conducted by athletic department as in previous years which invited them to provide feedback so improvements could be made. No player was consulted prior to decision by athletic director.

Seen excerpts of communications from multiple parents of players on team.

Seen excerpt of communication from an interested coach, many assume #1 candidate had there been an actual search. Interested coach stated he was never contacted by anyone in athletic department. Interested coach had made it known and information had been shared with the appropriate individuals in athletic department.

Seen excerpt of communication from a former athletic department employee who had worked for athletic director. Prior to actual decision, former employee predicted athletic director would hire assistant coach because it would be a quick and easy thing to do and there would be no search.

Seen excerpt of communication from a third-party individual that athletic director had told a major supporter of golf program “all players and parents were onboard with decision to hire.”

One day, one day, one day, more information, like this, will come out about:

how assistant coach tried to persuade several players to call a team meeting and have them vote on whether they wanted head coach to return and to also support him as new head coach. That happened in Jan while head coach was still on university leave. Several key players would then take results to athletic director. Team meeting held but no official vote based on advice of a few parents who intervened. Head coach resigned few weeks later.

how former head coach, while on paid leave, traveled to Bahamas in Nov for a golfing trip with his friends at the exact time the team was playing there in a tournament.

Players on team are talented and care about each other so they put up with drama stated above.

Heard pretty much the same things you have said. And it came from a very, very good source. Very!
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby DanFreibergerForHeisman » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:10 am

I have very little trouble believing everything being said is true. We do what we do.

That still doesn't necessarily mean Parra was a bad or wrong hire.
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Re: Chris Parra Named Head Men’s Golf Coach

Postby redpony » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:40 am

DanFreibergerForHeisman wrote:I have very little trouble believing everything being said is true. We do what we do.

That still doesn't necessarily mean Parra was a bad or wrong hire.


Not exactly the point. My issue was that our AD did the lazy thing and failed to do any due diligence and listen to others who were interested.

If we go top 5 next year- good hire- if we drop to 18-20 then the opposite would apply
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