Texas baseball coach David Pierce was fired by the Longhorns after the season

When the Texas baseball program officially moves to the Southeastern Conference on July 1, Longhorns head coach David Pierce will not be coming.

Pierce was fired Monday, ending his eight-year tenure at Texas. His firing came just weeks after a disappointing season ended with a 10-2 loss to Louisiana in the NCAA’s College Station Regional tournament. In statements released by the school, both Pierce and TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte described the separation as a mutual decision.

“The CDC and I met after the season and mutually agreed that the best thing for the program was to go in a different direction,” Pierce said. “It has been an honor and privilege to lead this program over the past eight years. It is certainly a time I will always cherish as a coach, and I am very appreciative of the University of Texas for this opportunity.”

“After the season, Coach Pierce and I had some time to revisit the year, the future of our program, where we are, and where we’re headed,” Del Conte said. “It was a tough decision for us, but we mutually agreed that we had to make a change, and I’m very grateful.” To Coach Pierce and all he has done for our baseball program over the past eight years.

A look back at the David Pearce era

Pierce, 61, signed a contract extension in 2021 and had two years remaining on the deal that paid him an annual salary of $1.2 million. According to the language in his contract, the Texans owe Pierce 70% of his remaining base salary if he is fired without cause, but decision makers still feel this is the right time to make a change.

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Pierce, who was hired from Tulane in June 2016 to replace Augie Garrido, went 295-162 at Texas. He led the Longhorns to the Big 12 Championship in 2018, 2021 and 2023 and to the College World Series in 2018, 2021 and 2022. The Longhorns came close to winning the national championship with Pierce in 2021, when they finished tied for third place. in the CWS but were sent home from Omaha by eventual champion Mississippi State.

Pierce’s career record is 494-271 during 13 years leading Texas State, Tulane and Sam Houston. He has coached teams in 11 post-NCAA seasons and won a national championship as part of Rice’s coaching staff in 2003.

Texans player: This season “has been turbulent at times”

Pierce’s Texas teams have hosted three NCAA Regional Tournaments and have a 25-14 showing over six trips to the NCAA Tournament. But his final season was marred by personnel struggles and disappointing performances on the field.

Last summer, Pierce fired Woody Williams and named himself UT’s third coach in as many years. He’s always been involved with pitchers, but the Texans’ team ERA rose this season from 4.18 to 4.91 — its worst mark since 1999 — as the Longhorns struggled with injuries, established depth and reliever Lebarron Johnson Jr. regressed. Coach Philip Miller, Pierce’s longtime lieutenant, also took an unexplained leave of absence in March and never returned.

On the field, the Longhorns went 36-24 and finished third in the Big 12. Texas lost both games in the Big 12 Tournament and then failed to make a superregional tournament for the first time since missing the NCAA Tournament entirely in 2019. .

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“(This season) has been turbulent at times,” junior pitcher Ace Whitehead said after the season-ending loss to Louisiana. “We definitely had our share of adversity all year, but there was never a moment where we backed down from anything. The guys are tough as nails. There’s a lot you can say, but I’m proud of the guys and proud of the coaches.”

A few minutes after the season ended, Pierce was asked if he expected to return for the Longhorns’ 2025 campaign and SEC debut. He said the decision was not his making, but stated that “as long as the University of Texas gives me a chance, it will have everything I have.”

“We’re judged 100 percent on wins and losses, but you have to get into the components of this team and the components of this program to understand how good it is. And that’s from our support staff through our players.” Pierce added. “The question is ‘Will I come back?’ That’s not in my hands. I know how well our team plays and I know how well our staff works. I’ve been doing this a long time and we’ve had a lot of success.”

What now? Texas begins its search for a new coach

Although Texas was relatively successful during his eight years, the Pierce era fell short of the lofty and almost unrealistic standards set by the coach’s predecessors. William Desch, Babe Falk, Cliff Gustafson and Garrido led Texas from 1911 to 2016 except for a three-year period in which Falk served in the Army. Each of them has coached the Longhorns for at least 19 years. Falk, Gustafsson and Garrido each won two national titles in Austin, and busts of the four coaches are erected outside the Longhorns’ home stadium, UFCU Disch-Falk Field, which is named for Disch and Falk.

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Now the new coach will try to emulate that success while also leading UT to the SEC, widely considered college baseball’s best conference. Five of the last six national champions have come from the SEC, and either Texas A&M or Tennessee will capture the title this year. When it comes to average attendance, seven of the top eight schools nationally were SEC schools and the fifth-place finisher in college baseball was the SEC-bound Longhorns.

Since Del Conte became athletic director in December 2017, Texas has not shied away from hunting the big game when it comes to hiring coaches. Former men’s basketball coach Chris Beard (Texas Tech) and current women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State), softball coach Mike White (Oregon) and track and field coach Edric Florial (Kentucky) were established winners elsewhere before being hired. By Texas. Bob Bowman recently left Arizona State after winning a national championship to become the director of swimming and diving at the University of Texas. The school’s new women’s golf coach, Laura Ianniello, won an NCAA title in 2018 in Arizona.

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