CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois head men's golf coach Mike Small was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association on Friday, marking the fourth time in the last five years that he has earned the honor. It also is Small's fifth career regional coach of the year award, as he earned the accolade in 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Small led a very young Illini team to a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships after the squad fell to Alabama in the championship match. The Orange and Blue defeated 2012 NCAA champion Texas and top-ranked California during the match-play portion after finishing fifth in stroke play. Illinois also won the Fayetteville Regional, the program's first regional title, and earned its fifth-straight Big Ten championship in 2013 and won its first-ever Big Ten Match Play Championship among six tournament victories, the second-most in program history.
Junior Thomas Pieters, who elected to become a professional following the season and is playing in the Scottish Hydro Challenge on the European Challenge Tour this weekend, notched the fourth-best season scoring average in school history on the way to earning PING third-team All-America and Big Ten Men's Golfer of the Year honors. Freshman Charlie Danielson was an honorable mention All-American after finishing 13th at the NCAA Championships and freshman Thomas Detry was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year thanks to a 72.88 season stroke average, the third-best by a freshman in school history.