EL PASO, Texas - UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter announced on Wednesday that Derek Plucienski has been named the Miners’ new men’s golf coach.
Plucienski was an All-Conference USA player at Southern Miss before rising through the coaching ranks and spending the last year and a half as the head coach at McNeese State University.
“We would like to welcome Derek to the UTEP family, and welcome him back to Conference USA,” Senter said. “During the interview process, he impressed us with his enthusiasm, work ethic, his relentless approach to recruiting and his passion not only for coaching, but for developing student-athletes into fine young men. We’re excited about entering a new era in our men’s golf program’s proud history.”
“I am extremely honored and excited to be joining the UTEP family as the next head men's golf coach,” Pucienski said.
“This is an incredible opportunity. I would like to thank our Director of Athletics, Jim Senter, Nick Popplewell, and the entire hiring committee for believing in me and my vision for our men's golf program. The investment from the athletic department and the Century Club is amazing and will afford us every opportunity to be even more successful."
"I look forward to meeting our players, the Century Club members, and entrenching myself and our program in the community. The facilities here are superb and we will be able to recruit some of the very best in the world. We will be poised to compete for and win championships. Our student-athletes are conditioned to excel on and off the course and graduate from UTEP as an accomplished man that will be ready to take on life. The UTEP Men's Golf Program has achieved great success and that is something that I will continue to build on. Go Miners!”
While at McNeese State, Plucienski coached a pair of second team All-Louisiana performers, as voted on by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA).
Greg Holmes and Michael Terblanche each garnered the honor, while Holmes was tabbed the Louisiana Freshman of the Year after compiling a 72.10 scoring average.
Holmes scored par or better in nine rounds during the truncated season and shot in the 60’s on six occasions. He finished in the top-25 at four events. A third member of the Cowboy roster, Theo Berger, was named a 2020 Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar by the GCAA (Golf Coaches Association of America). Plucienski was assistant coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette from 2018-19.
Highlights from that season included the Ragin’ Cajuns finishing second at the David Toms Intercollegiate, hosted by LSU at Baton Rouge.
Micah Goulas was named the 2019 Louisiana Newcomer of the Year by the LSWA after compiling a 73.63 scoring average and three top-25 showings.
Goulas was also picked second team All-Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns’ Jack Tolson was a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar.
Prior to launching his collegiate coaching career, Plucienski served as the Tournament and Operations Manager for the Gulf States Section PGA from 2016-17, directing over 25 Section events annually.
Before that, he spent a year with the APT Professional Golf Tour as a Tournament Operations Director, overseeing 26 events during the season.
Plucienski played professionally from 2013-14, setting the Country Club of Jackson course record with a round of 63. A native of Slidell, La., Plucienski played at Southern Miss from 2007-12.
He was a second team All-League performer as a junior, fashioning a 73.1 scoring average – the fourth-lowest in school history.
He registered five top-10 and two top-five finishes that year, with 15 rounds of par or better.
Plucienski took second place at the Sam Hall Intercollegiate, where he set or tied school records for lowest round (63), lowest first round score (63), lowest third round score (65), lowest 54-hole scole (201) and lowest score relative to par (-12).
His efforts earned him C-USA Co-Golfer of the Week.
In addition, Plucienski was medalist at the UTA/Waterchase Intercollegiate, where he set a school-record for lowest 36-hole score (133).
Plucienski finished in the top-20 at the C-USA Championships twice during his career with the Golden Eagles – 19th as a sophomore and seventh as a junior.
He played his prep golf at Brother Martin High School, where he captured the 2007 Gulf States PGA Junior Tour Championship at the TPC of Louisiana with a four-under-par 212.
He led Brother Martin HS to the 2006 District title, receiving the Warren Cervanni Award for most outstanding golfer at the school.
On the junior amateur circuit, he was the 2006 Gulf State Player of the Year.
He claimed consecutive Gulf State Championships in 2004 and 2005, and won the 2006 Louisiana Premier Golf Championship.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in sport management from Southern Miss in 2011, and added a master’s degree in sport management from Southern Miss in 2013.
Plucienski will start his duties at UTEP on January 1, 2021.