Haas finished T33rd in his first US Senior Open
Haas is one of four Demon Deacons in the field
Demon Deacons are looking for their first trip to the NCAA Championship since 2009
The Deacs have a pair of players in the top-10 after round one
Freshman Clancy Waugh notches his second top-5 finish of the season
When Wake Forest was looking for a coach to lead the men's golf into the future, it turned to someone who is a part of the program's glorious past.
Jerry Haas, a former Wake Forest All-American, is in his 18th season as head coach of his alma mater. Haas has returned Wake Forest golf to its place among the nation's elite programs.
Haas is a long-standing member of the Wake Forest golf family, and Wake Forest golf is a big part of the Haas family.
Jerry's brother, Jay Haas, led Wake Forest to back-to-back NCAA championships in the 1970s. Bill Haas -- Jay's son and Jerry's nephew -- played for the Deacons from 2001 to 2004, earning National Player of the Year honors two times and All-ACC honors four times.
Is there another Haas out there who can help the Deacon golf program? Perhaps. Jerry and wife Elizabeth had a son, Kyle Joseph, born August, 2004.
Haas is a former member of the PGA Tour, playing in 115 events from 1990-92 as well as in 1995. He is also a veteran of the Nike Tour (now the Nationwide Tour) and the European Tour. Haas won three times on the Nike tour in 1994 and finished ninth on the money list that season.
Haas has coached a number of players who are enjoying the life of professional golf. Bill Haas and Webb Simpson are currently two of the hottest golfers on the PGA Tour. They were joined in 2011 by Kyle Reifers, who played for the Deacons from 2003-06. Brendan Gielow and Travis Wadkins both advanced to the final stage of the 2011 PGA Tour Q-School and competed on the Nationwide Tour in 2012. Most recently, Lee Bedford earned his Web.com Tour card through Q-School and competed on the tour in 2012-13.
When Haas returned to the Wake Forest campus 17 years ago, the men's golf program was in need of a major rebuilding project. The program was distant from the high standards set by former coach Jesse Haddock and Haddock's first star, Arnold Palmer. Haas was named head coach of the Deacons on September 1, 1997, by Director of Athletics, Ron Wellman.
"Jerry possesses the background and qualifications that we were seeking in a coach," Wellman said at his hiring. "He understands Wake Forest and shares the same high ambitions that we have for our men's golf program. We are confident that he will do an outstanding job as head coach."
Haas has rebuilt the Wake Forest program back into a perennial contender for ACC and NCAA championships. His Deacons have finished in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships three times since 2001. Under Haas, Wake Forest has been a fixture in the national rankings, including a No. 1 ranking in 2001.
Over the last nine years, the Deacons have won 14 tournaments, including three out of the last eight NCAA Regionals. Despite the success, Haas' appetite for ACC and NCAA titles continues to grow. He has put together a string of blue-chip recruiting classes. Seven years ago, the class of Dustin Groves, Chris McCartin and Webb Simpson was one of the best rookie classes in the nation. The 2009 class included a pair of talented freshman -- Evan Beck and Charlie Harrison while the 2010 class featured John Varol and Beau Cutts.
In 2010, Haas led the Deacs to a victory at the Wexford Intercollegiate and a third place showing at the ACC Championship, which was the highest finish since 2004. A year earlier, he guided the team to a pair of double-digit victories and a fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA Championship.
Gielow was another one of Haas' top recruits as he came to Wake Forest in 2006 and began a tremendous career that culminated with 2010 Byron Nelson Award. Gielow also earned PING All-America honors, becoming the sixth Demon Deacon to earn All-American honors under Haas.
In 2008, Simpson completed one of the best career's in Wake Forest history, earning first team All-America honors, making him just the sixth Demon Deacon earn All-American honors four-times.
After graduation, Simpson made an immediate impact on the Nationwide Tour, finishing 45th on the money list in just six starts. Then like fellow Wake Forest All-American Kyle Reifers in 2006, Simpson successfully made it through PGA Tour Q-School in his first try. There was no doubt that Haas' professional experience helped guide both players.
The 2003-04 season was a memorable one for Haas.
Then-freshman Sean Moore won individual medalist honors at the ACC Championships. Bill Haas broke a school record for tournament victories (10) and an NCAA record for scoring average. Haas finished second at the NCAA Championships, gained his diploma, and headed off to play in PGA and Nationwide Tour events.
The 2002-03 Demon Deacons captured four team titles, including the International Collegiate, The Ridges/Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, the Tulane Invitational and Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational. Wake Forest ranked among the top five teams nationally all season long and tied for fourth at NCAAs -- its best finish in six seasons.
With a squad that returned every letterwinner from the previous season, the 2001-02 team reached a national ranking of No. 1 in the fall. The Deacons finished second in two major events - the Ping-Golfweek Preview and the Jerry Pate National Collegiate - to earn the top spot in the rankings. The spring season proved to be nearly as successful, as the Deacons won two tournaments - the Birkdale Collegiate and The Intercollegiate - and posted six top-four finishes in seven tournaments.
In 2000-01, Haas' Deacs finished first, second or third during a stretch of five consecutive tournaments during the spring. At the NCAA Championships in Durham, N.C., the Deacs were in third place after two rounds, finishing an impressive 10th for a lineup that included one junior, three sophomores and a freshman.
In the 1999-2000 campaign, it was four freshmen and a sophomore that advanced the Demon Deacons to the NCAA Championships for the first time in three years and finished 15th overall.
During Haas' tenure as head coach, WFU has produced 18 All-ACC selections and 18 individual tournament champions. In addition, Bill Haas was a three-time first-team All-America, the 2003 and 2004 ACC Player of the Year as well as the winner of the 2004 Ben Hogan Award.
The nephew of former Masters champion Bob Goalby and the younger brother of current Champions Tour star Jay Haas, golf has been a part of Jerry Haas' life as long as he can remember. He began playing golf as soon as he could pick up a club, hitting the links as early as age two. Under the tutelage of his uncle and brother, Haas quickly developed into one of the premier junior players in the nation, winning the Illinois state high school title as a senior and earning All-America honors.
While at WFU, Haas continued to make his mark in the world of amateur golf, winning the Illinois Amateur title in 1982 and 1984 and advancing to the semifinals of the 1984 U.S. Amateur Championship. He qualified to play in the 1985 Masters, where he finished an impressive 31st. Haas was also selected as a member of the 1985 U.S. Walker Cup Team.
Haas has continued to play, as time allows, during his coaching tenure. He advanced through qualifying rounds to participate in the 2002 U.S Open at Bethpage Black and the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah, where he was paired with his brother, Jay Haas, for the first two rounds. He was medalist in the 2009 Western NC Pro-Pro Championship with Davidson Coach Tim Straub (WFU 1989).
He won the 2012 South Carolina Open, shooting 67-69-69, carding a 69.18 scoring average for the year and was runner-up for the 2012 Sectional Player of the Year. In September, 2013, a week after his 50th birthday, Haas played in the PGA Champions Tour Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, shooting rounds of 68-79-72 and finishing tied for 35th. In December of 2013, he won the Carolinas Section Pro-Pro at 25-under par. Most recently, Haas qualified for the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, his first senior major.
Haas graduated from Wake Forest in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in speech communication and set out to join the "family business." He spent nine years playing professional golf, including two years on the European Tour, three years on the Nike Tour, and four years on the PGA Tour. He played in over 115 PGA events between 1990 and 1995, earning several top 25 finishes and taking home over $319,000 in prize money. He also posted an outstanding season on the Nike Tour in 1994, winning three tournament titles and placing ninth on the tour money list to earn his PGA exemption.
Haas left the professional golf ranks in 1997 and spent a year as a commentator for The Golf Channel and a teaching professional at the Yorktown Golf Club in his hometown of Belleville, Ill. before accepting the position at Wake Forest.
Haas and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Winston-Salem with their 19-year-old daughter, Shannon, and 10-year-old son, Kyle.