When Chip mentioned that David Pierce had emerged as a leading candidate in the search to replace Augie, I felt they should hire him right away. Why? This guy was one of the top assistants around when he was at Rice and they made four appearances in Omaha including three in a row from 2006-08.
Now that he’s been a head coach at two different schools, he elevated both of those schools from the bottom of the barrel to nationally ranked programs. He knows what he’s doing and given the resources he will have at Texas, he should have no problem hitting the ground running and returning Texas back to the top.
Pierce mentioned during his introductory press conference, “I coach baseball, but I really coach people and baseball is my platform.” Pierce is all about building complete men who play also excel on the baseball field.
Pierce was mainly a pitching coach when he was at Rice as took over the pitching coach job in 2006 after being the team’s hitting coach from 2003-2005. In his six years as pitching coach, he had a top-30 pitching staff ERA in five of those years.
Something that stood out about his pitching philosophy was the way he uses his “closer”. Pierce said, “We consider our closer, our stopper.” He went on to say, “And if the game is on the line in the seventh, that’s usually when we’ll go to him.”
Pierce is saying that he is going to put his best arm out there in the highest leverage situation, even if it is not the ninth inning.
One thing I have collected from what talking to some people about the hiring of Pierce is he is the right guy for the job. Former Rice baseball player Doug Simmons, who played at Rice from 2007-2011, told me, “We kept winning conference championships when he transitioned to pitching coach. So that shows you how effective he is at learning a new phase of the game.” Simmons added, “He did a great job, all the pitchers loved him. He was a real player’s coach.”
Something else that became prevalent when talking to people about the hire was they believe he is going to get Texas back to the promise land. A source from around the program told me, “I think we’re going to be really good really soon.”
I also spoke with letterman David Denny (’82-’85) and he said, “I love [the hire].” He added, “With the exception of the last two years, he’s been in Texas his entire life. He’s been successful at every level and is the perfect guy to get us back to being a National Championship contender on a regular basis. Great hire.”
Pierce knows what it’s like to be around the best and I believe he is going to make sure he is surrounded by the best to make this program as successful as possible.
One thing Texas needs to do and do quickly, win games. After speaking with former UT pitcher Austin Wood, I believe there won’t be a problem with Pierce. Wood said, “He can recruit, develop and win.” And to add on to that, development is another big thing Texas needs to improve on after only having four players drafted in the 2016 MLB Draft and two of them went in the late rounds.
Pierce mentioned in the presser, “I want [assistant coaches] who can recruit, develop, and mold young men with me.” This speaks to what Austin Wood had to say about him.
Oh and don’t forget, Pierce spent his time at Houston from 2001-2002 as the hitting coach and was the hitting coach at Rice from 2003-2005. His offense had a .313 batting average with 51 home runs and 449 RBI helping lead Rice to a national title.
In the press conference, Pierce said his offensive philosophy is going to be multiple.
“It’s very simple. We want to be able to score in multiple ways.” He added, “We want to score with the running game, the short game, the hit-and-run game, and we were fortunate enough last year to hit the ball out of the park.
“How ironic, we open up with Rice University this upcoming season.”