Texas Baseball Has Its Man


Almost a month to the day after Texas removed five-time NCAA champion baseball coach Augie Garrido, the Longhorns have a new leader—and he’s a familiar face to many around the state.

David Pierce, 53, comes to the Forty Acres from New Orleans, after a two-year stint coaching Tulane. Prior to that, he was head coach at Sam Houston State for three seasons. In all five seasons as a head coach, Pierce-led teams have qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Including his time as an assistant at Rice and Houston, Pierce has qualified 16 straight years, including a national championship with Rice in 2003.

“I appreciate your patience to find exactly the right man to lead our proud and storied baseball program,” Athletics director Mike Perrin said at Pierce’s introductory presser this morning. “I couldn’t be happier with the decision we made. When we had a chance to visit, he impressed me mightily. You’ll see David is a tireless worker.”

Pierce is just the fifth Longhorn head coach since 1911, and the 13th in the 122 years since Texas baseball’s inception. He has big shoes to fill. The last three Longhorn head baseball coaches—Garrido, Cliff Gustafson, and Bibb Falk—have won NCAA titles. The fourth, Billy Disch, is, along with Falk, the namesake of Texas’ baseball stadium. Pierce made a point to thank Garrido and Gustafson for laying a strong foundation the last 49 years, one the new coach hopes to build upon.

“It’s a special day, Pierce said. “It’s been a special journey.” Pierce has been working with the U.S. Collegiate National Team as an assistant, and he was standing in centerfield of Dodger Stadium when Perrin called him about the job. Reports swirled throughout June that head coaches at UCLA, Texas Tech, Oregon State, and TCU turned down the open Texas job. Regardless, Perrin later said that Pierce was the first and only person to whom he offered the position.

“I definitely feel like the first choice,” Pierce said. “Whether I was or I wasn’t doesn’t concern me. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.”

Born in Houston, Pierce played ball at Wharton County Junior College before finishing his playing career at Houston, where he received his degree in 1988. He took an assistant coaching job—baseball and football—at his alma mater St. Pius X High School the following year. After a one-year stint assisting at Rice, he returned to high school ball, as an assistant coach at Episcopal in Houston. That landed him his first head coaching job, at Dobie High School in Pasadena, Texas. Between 1996-2001, Pierce led his first batch of Longhorns to three District 23-5A titles and three Region III semifinal berths.

“I coach baseball, but I really coach people. Baseball is my platform,” Pierce said. “It’s not just about baseball first-rounders. It’s about becoming great young men.”

Pierce returned to college ball in 2001, back at Houston, where he’d spend two seasons. The next nine years—three as hitting coach, six as pitching coach—Pierce was an assistant at Rice. From 2006-11, 27 Rice pitchers were selected in the MLB Draft, including eight in the first round. All told, Pierce’s Rice and Houston teams won almost 70 percent of their games (527-230). He is 197-109 as a head coach (.644).

“There’s absolutely no waiting,” Pierce said, when asked if there’d be some growing pains in his first year. “We’ve had great expectations everywhere we’ve been.”


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