HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Sam Houston State Director of Athletics Bobby Williams has confirmed to KBTX Sports that baseball coach David Pierce is leaving SHSU for the same job at Tulane.
The New Orleans Advocate was the first to report Pierce is leaving Huntsville.
Pierce led the Bearkats to three Southland Conference regular season titles in his three seasons as head coach. He also took SHSU to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments and racked up a record of 121-63.
Tulane went 23-29 last season under Rick Jones. Jones stepped down after 21 seasons as head coach of the Green Wave. He is the winningest coach in school history. He took Tulane to the College World Series in 2001 and 2005.
RELEASE FROM TULANE
David Pierce, who guided the Sam Houston State Bearkats to three consecutive trips to the NCAA Regionals, has been named the 23rd head coach of the Tulane Green Wave baseball program, as it was announced today by Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson.
"After a very thorough search that created great interest throughout college baseball, it is with great pleasure that we introduce David Pierce as the new head coach of Tulane baseball," said Dickson. "David brings a great track record of coaching with energy, enthusiasm and strong history of recruiting while developing some of the country's finest collegiate players, as evidenced by the selection of five student-athletes from his first recruiting class at SHSU being chosen in this week's MLB draft. David's contributions during his tenure at Rice ranked among the nation's best in that decade, which were an important factor as we sought the best fit to lead Tulane baseball back to national prominence. We welcome David, his wife Susan and their two children to the Tulane community."
Pierce becomes just the fourth head coach to man the Green Wave dugout as head skipper since 1967, joining Milt Retif (1967-74), Joe Brockhoff (1975-93) and Pierce's predecessor, Rick Jones (1994-2014).
"I'd really like to thank the Sam Houston State community, university and athletic department, especially the baseball coaches, players and support staff," said Pierce. "My wife Susan and I are very excited to be coming to Tulane University to become a part of the Tulane family. I'd like to thank Dr. Scott Cowen and athletic director Rick Dickson for giving us this opportunity to come to New Orleans to be a part of this great institution. I know we have a lot to do in the next few days to secure and communicate to recruits and returning players that good times are ahead of us. Our intent is to come in and win now, and we are not only going to win on the playing field, but also in the community and in the classroom. I would like to finish my statement with one thing: Roll Wave."
Pierce owns an overall head coaching record of 121-63 after completing just his third season as head coach of the Sam Houston State Bearkats. In his three seasons at SHSU, Pierce took the Bearkats to three consecutive NCAA Regional appearances for just the second time in program history. Pierce was named the head coach at SHSU prior to the 2012 season after serving as an assistant coach for nine years at Rice University.
In his third season in Huntsville, Texas, Pierce guided the Bearkats to a 43-19 overall record that included a berth into the NCAA Fort Worth Regional. The 43 wins were the second-most in a single-season in Bearkats history since joining the Division I ranks in 1987. The Bearkats opened Regional play with a 2-1 victory over Dallas Baptist before falling to TCU in the second-longest NCAA postseason game in NCAA history: a 22-inning, 3-2 loss. The Bearkats bounced back with a 9-2 win over Siena to play for a regional championship on June 1, falling to TCU by a score of 6-1.
In Pierce's second season at SHSU, the 2013 squad won 14-of-15 games down the stretch to clinch the Southland Conference title and solidify their status as an at-large candidate into the NCAA Regionals. Pierce's program won the Southland Conference regular season championship for the second consecutive year – the first time in program history - while finishing the regular season with 36 wins to earn the first national-ranking of the season for the Bearkats.
Sam Houston State picked up a victory at the Southland Conference Tournament and then competed in an NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge.
In Baton Rouge, the Bearkats beat Louisiana-Lafayette, 4-2, for the program's first opening round win since beating No. 1 Miami in Austin in 1996. The Kats then took on LSU in front of the then-largest crowd (10,752) in the history of Alex Box Stadium. 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 despite having the go ahead runs on base to end the game. The 2013 Bearkats finished with a 38-22 record.
Pierce kicked off his head coaching career in grand fashion during the 2012 season, leading the Kats to the regular season conference title and an overall record of 40-22. During the course of the season, the Bearkats made program history by being ranked in each of the major college baseball polls for the first time since joining the Division I ranks in 1987.
The 2012 team made their seventh NCAA Regional appearance, earning an at-large berth in the Houston regional. SHSU defeated No. 1 seed Rice and reached the finals against eventual College World Series participant Arkansas.
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 UTSA's Sherman Corbett (2007-08).
He also was twice named by PerfectGame.org as one of 10 rising stars in the NCAA Division I college baseball coaching ranks. Pierce tutored two of the highest-drafted Bearkats in the history of the program. Cody Dickson, taken at No. 119 overall in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, is the highest drafted Bearkat baseball player since moving to the Division I level. Caleb Smith was selected in the 14th round of the same draft by the New York Yankees to become just the 19th Sam Houston player selected in the top 15 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft.
At the conference level, many of Pierce's pupils earned honors throughout his three seasons at the helm of the Bearkats program. Anthony Azar was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year in 2014, while four others earned All-Conference honors for the season. In 2013, Kevin Miller and Azar earned First Team All-Southland Conference honors for the second-consecutive year while three others saw their names on the Second Team. Three Bearkats were spread out amongst the Second and Third teams in 2012.
Prior to joining SHSU, 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 2003-05 before moving to the role of pitching coach from 2006-11. Pierce was instrumental in the success of Rice's first ever National Championship team as the squad hit .313 with 51 home runs and 449 RBI in 2003 under Pierce's tutelage.
As pitching coach from 2006-2011, Pierce 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 MLB First-Year Player Draft, including left-handed starter Joe Savery as the 19th overall pick in the first round.
Two of Pierce's pupils earned major Conference USA awards during his time with the Owls, as 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 during the same season.
Before joining the Rice program for his second stint - he was an assistant with the Owls for a season in 1991- Pierce worked across town with the Houston Cougars program for the 2001 and 2002 campaigns. In both years with the Pierce working as the hitting coach, the Cougars made NCAA postseason appearances, including an NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2002, and helped the team to just a game away from a College World Series berth.
Under Pierce's direction in 2002, 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. Jesse Crain added 11 home runs, giving the three the greatest home run totals by a Cougar trio in school history.
Pierce received 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 being named a coach in the United States Junior Olympic trials.
In his five years at Dobie, many of Pierce's players earned individual honors. Pierce tutored three all-state players, 36 all-district stars, and 10 players who went on to perform at the college level. Shane Nance, one of Pierce's top protégés at Dobie, became a college All-America at Houston before pitching in the majors for the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pierce also made coaching stops at Episcopal and St. Pius X, both high schools in Houston. While in Houston, Pierce 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 is married to the former Susan Kubiak – the sister of current Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. The Pierce's have two children, Chelsea and Shea. Their son, Shea is a rising senior catcher/infielder on the Bearkat baseball team.