David Pierce’s dream came true.
On June 29, Tulane’s former baseball coach was offered the job he always wanted, leading the program at Texas.
“Texas is the No. 1 job for me,” Pierce told The Advocate on Tuesday. “That doesn’t necessarily mean Texas is the No. 1 job for everyone, but for me it’s a chance to go home. There are always two types of schools that I wanted to be a part of, which is either a high academic school or a big state school. The state school in this case happens to be my home state, so it’s a perfect fit for me.”
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However, in becoming a Longhorn, Pierce left the Green Wave in his wake after just two seasons. He departs Tulane with a pair of NCAA tournament appearances and an American Athletic Conference championship added to its collection, stabilizing the program in the process.
And Pierce said he never intended for his stay in New Orleans to be so brief. He purchased a new home in the Lakeview neighborhood and his son, Shea Pierce, transferred from Sam Houston State to finish his playing career at Tulane while earning a graduate degree.
But when Texas, armed with its own cable network, a treasure trove of baseball history and a six-year, $4.75 million contract (significantly more than he was earning at Tulane) came calling, there was too much to pass up.
“I was at Tulane and in New Orleans to be there permanently,” Pierce said. “I never regret having great years and speeding the process up, because I gave it my all and so did my staff and team. There are a lot of emotions right now, but those will be short-term. The players at Tulane are great and they’re going to be just fine. I’m just proud, and believe we helped make the program better.”
Pierce lamented the fact Tulane’s players and staff members found out he left via social media, but said he immediately reached out to them over the messaging application GroupMe, which the whole team used for communication purposes throughout the season.
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As the Longhorns search ramped up and Pierce’s contact with Texas Athletic Director Mike Perrin became more frequent, Pierce penned a note to explain his decision and display the appreciation he felt to those he was leaving behind. When the hire became official, he sent it out immediately.
“It’s a difficult time and I wish I could have done it face-to-face, but I believe our players truly know how we feel about them,” Pierce said. “It was a difficult process to go through.”
Now, Pierce said he believes Tulane is set on a path to future success regardless of who is hired to fill his former position. On Wednesday, multiple sources said Green Wave Athletic Director Troy Dannen held at least two interviews, hosting LSU hitting coach Andy Cannizaro and Southeastern Louisiana head coach Matt Riser.
“My family and I loved the city of New Orleans and university,” Pierce said. “We had tremendous support from Day 1. There are some things that can be improved, but that’s true of anywhere. I think those pieces are a work in progress. It was a 100 percent positive experience for us, even if it was a little short-lived.
“I thank the city, the university and the department for giving me a great opportunity and whoever comes next will have a great opportunity to build on what we did because of the support those places give.”