David Pierce served nine seasons (2003-2011) as a Rice assistant baseball coach under head coach Wayne Graham.
At Rice, Pierce is the pitching coach of an elite staff of Owl hurlers. He is a bench coach during games and he shares recruiting coordinator duties with Mike Taylor.
In recruiting, he and Taylor blanket the country to identify the very best student-athletes. It's a serious and demanding task at an institution like Rice, where neither the University's elite academic entrance requirements nor equally-high expectation of baseball skills will be compromised.
As such, Rice's recent recruiting classes are routinely ranked by a host of baseball publications among the best in the nation, and there's every reason to expect more of the same in the classes to come.
Pierce, however, is not a coach who recruits and then rests on his laurels. He has a personal fascination with both the art and science of pitching. It's an interest that has served him well in coaching the best young players to reach their full potential.
Last year the Rice pitching staff again posted a 40-win season and was among the NCAA leaders in team ERA (28th, 4.30). Former Owls Mike Ojala and Jared Rogers are the latest Pierce-coached pitchers to get drafted and earn a signing-bonus.
In 2009 the Rice pitching staff was 16th in ERA (4.21). Two of his charges, Mike Ojala and Ryan Berry, were among the NCAA individual leaders in ERA.
The Blue & Gray was tenth in the country in ERA (3.79) and eighth in strikeouts-per-nine innings (8.9) in 2008. All-American Cole St.Clair was among the NCAA leaders in ERA and seven Rice pitchers were drafted by the major leagues, including Bryan Price in the first round.
In 2007 the Owls were fourth in the country in team ERA (3.04) and averaged more than seven strikeouts per game. 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 C-USA Pitcher of the Year and Owl freshman pitcher Ryan Berry was named the league's freshman of the year.
Pierce was one of the reasons why right-hander Eddie Degerman went from being a pitching unknown, to finishing third in the nation in wins (13) and second in the country in strikeouts (172), to a fourth-round major league draft pick in 2006.
The success of a Pierce-coached team is not surprising. His track record shows a steady pattern of developing polished players at Rice and at his previous post as an assistant coach for two seasons across town at the University of Houston.
Pierce is also a former Rice assistant coach, serving one season (1991) under the late David Hall. He later was 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 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.
He rejoined 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.
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 (48) and his wife Susan have two children, Chelsea (21) and Shea (18). The family lives in Pearland and enjoys outings to watch the local, NFL team, the Houston Texans, on Sundays in the fall.
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