UCLA names Armenian Armen Kirakossian men’s golf head coach
Posted on June. 23. 2022
UCLA Athletics has announced Armenian Armen Kirakossian as head coach of the men’s golf team. Kirakossian becomes the sixth head coach in the program’s history.
“Every coach dreams of being able to lead a program at a prestigious university and athletic department such as UCLA,” Kirakossian said. “I can’t thank Martin Jarmond, Chris Carlson and the search committee enough for their belief in me. It was clear throughout the process that UCLA was a special place that attracts great people. I will make sure the players have an amazing collegiate golf experience, achieving greatness on the course and in the classroom.”
Kirakossian comes to UCLA from Arizona State University, where he spent the last five seasons, two as associate head coach and three as an assistant. He helped lead the Sun Devils to four consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, including a runner-up finish in 2021-22 and a third-place showing in 2020-21. During Kirakossian’s tenure, Arizona State produced more All-Pac-12 honorees than any other school in the conference, with 17. In 2021-22, the Sun Devils boasted a Pac-12-leading four first-team selections, the most by an ASU team since 1993-94.
“Armen brings a wealth of championship-level success, having helped produce some of the top amateur golfers in the nation,” said UCLA’s Alice and Nahum Lainer Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond. “His ability to connect and develop student athletes has made him one of the top assistant coaches in the country, and I’m excited to welcome him to Westwood!”
Following the 2018-19 season, Kirakossian was named a Strickland Award Winner, as the top assistant coach in the country. He has coached three consecutive Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year award -winners from 2019-22 in Cameron Sisk (2019), David Puig (2021) and Preston Summerhays (2022), and a total of 11 All-Americans at Arizona State. Under Kirakossian and Head Coach Matt Thurmond, the Sun Devils ranked in the Top 10 in the final Golfweek Rankings in each of the last four seasons. In addition, Arizona State has won 15 team tournaments and 15 individual titles over the last five seasons.
“I can’t possibly imagine enjoying working with someone more than I’ve enjoyed working with Armen over the past five years,” Thurmond said. “I learned so much from him, and he had as much of a role in our success in recruiting, on the course, and in the classroom, as I have had. I’m excited for him to have this opportunity, and I know he will be tough to beat. He has left Sun Devil Golf better than he found it. We will all miss him.”
Prior to coaching at Arizona State, Kirakossian was an assistant coach for Pepperdine University from 2015-17. At Pepperdine, Kirakossian helped oversee a turnaround in the Waves’ program with a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, its best mark since 2005. Further, Pepperdine ranked 19th in the final Golfweek rankings for a 59-spot improvement from when Kirakossian joined the team.
Several individuals shined under Kirakossian’s leadership at Pepperdine, including Hogan and Nicklaus award winner Sahith Theegala, who regularly competes on the PGA Tour. At Arizona State, Chun An Yu became the No. 1 amateur in the world by the end of the 2019-20 season.
Kirakossian also brings head coaching experience. Before his time at Pepperdine, Kirakossian was the head coach at his alma mater, Texas Pan American (UTPA), where he led the Broncos to three top-five finishes in 2014-15. He also served as a volunteer assistant coach at UTPA in 2012-13 prior to being hired as head coach in August 2014. One of Kirakossian’s student-athletes, Nicolas Paltret, won the Western Athletic Conference’s individual crown and advanced to an NCAA Regional, becoming the school’s first student-athlete to participate in the NCAAs since 1978.
“None of this would have been possible without all the people who believed in me and gave me chances along the way, shaping me into the coach I am today, especially Matt Thurmond,” Kirakossian said.
Kirakossian was a member of UTPA’s golf team, earning first-team all-conference and All-American Scholar honors. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2010.