David Pierce of Sam Houston State has been named as NCAA Division I South Central “Regional Coach of the Year” by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Pierce is one of eight NCAA Division I baseball coaches to be so recognized.
During Pierce's first season as head coach of the Bearkats, the 2012 baseball team hoisted the Southland Conference regular-season championship trophy for the first time in 23 years. Sam Houston earned the title by a margin of four games.
The 24 Southland Conference victories tied the league record for most conference wins in a season. For the first time in their 12 trips to the Southland post-season tournament, the Kats were the No. 1 seed.
Sam Houston State rolled up a 42-19 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.
Then Sam Houston received its first at-large selection to the NCAA tournament as a Southland Conference member. The Kats punched their tickets to the NCAA Baseball Championships in 1996, 2007, 2008 and 2009 as winners of the Southland tournament.
SHSU's spot in the 2012 NCAA Houston Regional marked the program's seventh NCAA Division I tournament appearance overall.
At the NCAA tournament in Houston, the Bearkats equaled their best NCAA Regional performance ever. After falling in the first round, the baseball team battled back to reach the regional finals against Arkansas. Along the way they upset No. 1 regional seed Rice.
Pierce also was named as the 2012 Southland Conference Baseball "Coach of the Year." He is the first Southland coach-of-the-year from Sam Houston State since 1989 when John Skeeters led the Bearkats to their only other regular-season title in just their second year in the conference.
At one point during the season, the Kats rode a 13-game win streak that included a win over No. 5 Rice, where Pierce had spent the previous nine years as an assistant coach.
The win streak was the longest in the program's 26 seasons at the Division I level.
The Bearkats climbed as high as No. 20 in the national polls and posted wins over Rice, San Diego, Houston and Dallas Baptist, as well as a three-game sweep of nationally ranked Texas State.
Pierce was the pitching coach for nine seasons at Rice University before joining the Bearkat baseball program.
Eight Sam Houston State players were named All-Southland Conference this year.
2012 Diamond/ABCA NCAA Division I Regional Coaches of the Year
Sam Houston State