After his first season as the Bearkats head coach, David Pierce already has a place in the Sam Houston State baseball record book.
The former Rice assistant led the Kats to their second Southland Conference regular season championship, a feat that SHSU had not accomplished since 1989.
Along the way, Pierce was honored as a “Regional Coach of the Year” by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) as well as being named Southland Conference “Coach of the Year.” He also was named by PerfectGame.org as one of ten rising stars in the NCAA Division I college baseball coaching ranks.
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.
The regular season record included victories over Rice, Dallas Baptist, San Diego, Louisiana-Monroe, Prairie View and UT-Arlington (other teams that received NCAA bids).
Beginning with a three-game sweep of preseason Southland favorite Texas State in late March, 2012, Sam Houston ran off 13 straight victories, the longest baseball winning streak in the program's 26 seasons at the NCAA Division I level.
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.