After just two seasons as the Bearkats head coach, David Pierce already has a place in the Sam Houston State baseball record book.
The former Rice assistant has led the Kats to two Southland Conference regular season championships and at-large selections to the NCAA Regionals.
After winning the school’s first Southland regular-season title since 1989, the team went back-to-back for the first time ever. The combined 78 wins under head coach David Pierce is the second-most in school history behind the 89 wins from 1986 to 1987.
Pierce was honored as a “Regional Coach of the Year” in 2012 by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as well as being named Southland Conference “Coach of the Year” in 2012 and 2013. He became the first Southland coach to earn consecutive honors since Texas-San Antonio’s Sherman Corbett (2007-08).
He also was twice named by PerfectGame.org as one of ten rising stars in the NCAA Division I college baseball coaching ranks.
The 2013 squad won 14-of-15 games down the stretch to clinch the Southland title and solidify their status as an at-large candidate. The league championship and strong non-conference schedule earned the Bearkats a second consecutive No. 3 seed, this time at the Baton Rouge, La. NCAA Regional.
In NCAA Regional play, the Bearkats beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 4-2, for the first opening round win since beating No. 1 Miami in Austin in 1996. The Kats then took on LSU in front of the largest crowd (10,752) in the history of Alex Box Stadium, in Baton Rouge. SHSU took a 5-4 lead into the eighth inning before falling 8-5 to the No. 1 seeded Tigers. The season ended with a 7-5 loss to ULL in which the Kats had the go ahead runs on base to end the game.
Pierce tutored two of the highest-drafted Bearkats in the history of the program. Cody Dickson, taken at No. 119 overall, is the highest drafted Bearkat baseball player since moving to the Division I level. Caleb Smith was selected in the 14th round to become just the 19th Sam Houston player selected in the top 15 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft.
Sam Houston won the 2012 conference title by a margin of four games and earned the No. 1 seed in the Southland post-season tournament for the first time. The 24 Southland victories tied the league record for most conference wins in a season.
Sam Houston State rolled up a 40-22 overall record, only the third time in the Bearkats' 26 seasons at the NCAA Division I level for the squad to compile 40 or more victories. For the first time in program history, the Bearkats earned national rankings in each of the major college baseball polls, climbing as high as No. 20 in one poll.
The 2012 Bearkats made their seventh NCAA Division I baseball regional appearance, earning an at-large berth in the Houston regional. Sam Houston defeated No. 1 seed Rice and reached the finals against World Series participant Arkansas to equal the program's best NCAA post-season performance ever.
Scheduling games against traditional powers is part of what has gotten the Bearkats into the postseason the last two years. Pierce's squads have claimed wins over Baylor, Houston, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, and San Diego.
Pierce was an assistant coach for nine years for a Rice Owl team that has been one of the best in college baseball. He served as hitting coach from 2003-2005. In his first season at Rice, the team hit .313 with 51 homeruns and 449 runs driven in on their way to the school’s first ever National Championship.
As pitching coach from 2006-2011, he produced a pitching staff ranked in the top 30 in the NCAA in staff ERA for five years, including a No. 4 national mark in 2007. Eight Pierce-coached pitchers were selected in the major league draft, including left-handed starter Joe Savery as the 19th overall pick in the first round.
Senior Ryne Tacker was named the 2007 Conference-USA Pitcher of the Year and Owl freshman pitcher Ryan Berry was named the league's freshman of the year.
Pierce joined the college coaching ranks at Houston in 2001. He helped coach the Cougars to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in his first season. In his second year, he helped take the team further with an NCAA Super Regional appearance, a game away from the College World Series.
Under Pierce’s direction, UH sluggers pounded out nearly 700 hits and finished the season with a .310 batting average, the fifth-best single-season performance in team history.
He tutored a trio of Cougar hitters, who established themselves as one of the finest groups of sluggers in school history. Brett Cooley (18) and Chris Snyder (15) tied a school record with 33 home runs by a Cougar duo. Add in Jesse Crain’s 11 home runs and that group posted the greatest home run totals by a Cougar trio in school history.
Pierce got his first top job as a head coach for five seasons at Pasadena's Dobie High School, where he led the Longhorns to three District 23-5A championships and three berths in the Region III semifinals.
Among his honors at Dobie was winning the district "Coach of the Year" award three times, being tabbed a coach for the Houston area all-star series, and a coach in the United States Junior Olympic trials.
In his five years at Dobie, Pierce produced three all-state players, 36 all-district stars, and 10 players who went on to perform at the college level. His star pupil at Dobie was former college all-America Shane Nance, who went on to pitch in the major leagues for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Other coaching stops were at Episcopal and St. Pius X, both high schools in Houston. He also worked as a batting practice pitcher for the Houston Astros from 1994 through 2000.
Pierce's playing career began at St. Pius X High School in Houston. He then went on to Wharton County Junior College (1982-83) and the University of Houston (1984-85). He helped pace the Cougars to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a senior in 1985. He completed his degree at Houston in 1988.
Pierce and his wife Susan have two children, Chelsea and Shea. Their son, Shea is a sophomore catcher on the Bearkat baseball team.