Alan Kaufman is in his 15th season as the head men's golf coach at UAB. Since taking over the program, Kaufman has led the Blazers to unprecedented success and national acclaim in the world of men's collegiate golf. In his tenure, UAB has made seven NCAA Regional appearances during his previous 14 seasons, as well as four National appearances highlighted by a 12th-place finish in 2001 in the program's first NCAA Championships appearance.
Kaufman coached one of the hottest golfers currently playing on the PGA Tour in Graeme McDowell. McDowell was an All-America performer on the links and became UAB's first No. 1-ranked golfer in both collegiate golf polls, the Golfweek Sagarin Performance Index and the Golfstat Cup rankings. To top off the year, McDowell was named the winner of the Fred Haskins Trophy, given to the top-performing collegiate golfer of the year. He was the C-USA Player of the Year and an all-conference selection for the second-consecutive year. McDowell had six tournament victories during the 2001-02 season and nine for his career.
McDowell took the PGA Tour by storm in June, 2010 when he captured the 110th US Open title on June 20th in Pebble Beach, Calif. In doing so, he became the first UAB golfer to ever win a major championship. Furthermore, McDowell led the charge in the 2011 Ryder Cup to lift the Europeans to the title.
Kaufman has also had success with some of his more recent teams. In 2011-12, he led the Blazers to the NCAA Nationals after finishing third in the Stanford Regional with a team score of 10-under par 830. UAB finished the season with six top-three finishes including a first place finish at the Sam Hall Invitational to start the season.
In 2007-08, Kaufman led UAB to the program's first-ever Conference USA championship. The Blazers, who finished with a 105-34-3 overall record, were led by Zack Sucher, who earned medalist honors with a nine-under par 207, as he became the second consecutive UAB golfer to capture medalist honors at the league championship (Garrett Osborn-2007). Under Kaufman's guidance, UAB has finished first or second at the C-USA Championship five times.
The magical 2007-08 season continued for Sucher and UAB in the NCAA East Regional. Behind a school and course record nine-under par 62 during the second round of the Regional, Sucher earned co-medalist honors and led UAB to a fifth-place finish and a berth to Nationals for the third time in school history. The Blazers finished the Regional with a three-round total of 13-under par 839, the second-best 54-hole mark in school history.
Following Sucher's outstanding season, he earned All-America honors for the second time in his career, making him the fourth golfer in program history to be tabbed All-American, all of whom played under Kaufman. Kaufman also produced UAB's first All-American, No. 1 overall ranked golfer, Fred Haskins Trophy winner, and C-USA Player of the Year in Graeme McDowell in 2002.
Furthermore, Sucher was awarded as the 2007-08 Conference USA Golfer of the Year, marking the second UAB golfer who has earned the league's top recognition (Graeme McDowell, 2001 and 2002) under Kaufman.
The 2006-07 campaign was no different as Kaufman led his team to another NCAA Regional appearance. Moreover, he helped Sucher become the first UAB player ever to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Nationals. Sucher did not disappoint, matching the school record at the NCAAs with a fourth-place finish and earning honorable mention All-America honors.
As a team, the Blazers captured the 2006 Barona Collegiate Cup during the fall season with a school-record performance. UAB shot a school-record low 840 to capture the team's first title since the 2005 campaign. Despite only capturing one team title, UAB boasted five finishes among the top-six teams in a tournament, as well as finishing the year ranked No. 42 in the nation.
The Blazers also finished in second place overall at the Conference USA Championships. Because of the strong finish, UAB was an at-large selection to the 2007 NCAA East Regional, where the Blazers finished 14th of 27 teams.
During the 2004-05 season, Kaufman guided a young UAB club to a fourth-place finish in Conference USA. Then-sophomore Garrett Osborn finished fifth at the C-USA tournament and garnered first-team All-C-USA honors. In 2005-06, Osborn continued his successful climb up the collegiate ranks, as he earned an at-large invitation to the 2006 NCAA East Regional. The NCAA nod earned UAB a regional competitor for the sixth time in the previous nine years under Kaufman. Osborn was forced to withdraw from the tournament, however, after undergoing surgery on his ailing right wrist the week prior to the tournament.
In 2003-04, Kaufman led the Blazers to the program's fifth NCAA Regional in program history. UAB finished the season with an overall record of 101-75-3 and captured the 2003 Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate.
The 2002-03 season record of 63-95 may not look impressive on paper, but Kaufman engineered one of the most impressive turnarounds in program history as he guided the team to its third Conference USA runner-up finish in four years despite injury problems.
In 2001-02, Kaufman guided UAB to a 119-58-7 overall mark and an 11-5-1 record in Conference USA play. The Blazers won the Country Club of Louisiana Intercollegiate in Baton Rouge, La., and recorded 11 top-10 finishes out of the 13 tournaments the team competed in during the season. UAB also registered a tie for ninth at the NCAA East Regional in Roswell, Ga. The Blazers advanced to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season.
In 2000-01, Kaufman led the Blazers to their most successful season to date. Despite having no tournament wins as a team, the Blazers had 10 top-five finishes. UAB finished 139-50-2 and placed ninth at the NCAA East Regional, earning the team's first chance at an NCAA Championship. The Blazers capitalized, finishing tied for 12th in the nation. McDowell won two tournaments and was named a Ping All-American, as well as a member of the Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams. Because of the Blazers' tremendous success, Kaufman was named C-USA Coach of the Year.
In 1999-2000, Kaufman led the Blazers to a 135-49-2 overall record. UAB posted 10 top-five finishes, winning two tournaments, with senior Chris Devlin capturing one individual title. The Blazers highlighted their season by qualifying for the NCAA East Regional. The team finished 17th.
In Kaufman's first season (1998-99), the Blazers went 101-82-3 overall and 30-8-1 in C-USA. UAB recorded three top-five finishes, including a third-place finish at the Deep South Intercollegiate (Oct. 26-27) and a tie for fourth at the C-USA Championship (Apr. 19-21). The Blazers had nine top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments.
Kaufman started playing at the age of 11 and has been involved with the sport in many different ways for over 60 years. His son, Jeff, played collegiately at LSU in the mid-1980s and his daughter-in-law, Pam, was head women's golf coach at UAB in the early 1990s. Kaufman grew up in Atlanta, Ga., and graduated from Grady High School in 1954. He spent his collegiate years at LSU, graduating in 1958. He moved to Birmingham in 1965 and went to work for Coca-Cola. In 1967, Kaufman founded the Wall Street Deli, a national sandwich shop chain.
Kaufman and his wife Pug have been married for 50 years. They have three children and five grandchildren.