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Sam Houston State director of athletics Bobby Williams has announced that David Pierce will be the next head coach of the Bearkat Baseball team.
"I received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from both the baseball and the Sam Houston community about his candidacy for this job," Williams said. "He is very respected by everyone I talked to, both inside baseball and out."
Pierce, who served as an assistant coach at Rice for the last nine years, will replace Mark Johnson, who announced his retirement from baseball at the beginning of the season.
"I am excited and looking forward to this opportunity," Pierce said. "I think everything I have done in my career, from working in high school, to working at Houston and Rice, has prepared me for this chance. I want to thank everyone at Rice for all they have done for me, and I also want to thank Dr. Gibson and Bobby Williams for giving me this opportunity here at Sam Houston."
He inherits a team that went 35-24 this past season and finished fifth in the Southland Conference. The Kats ranked in the top three in the Southland this past season in batting, pitching and fielding, and will return three regular position players and two starting pitchers.
"This is such a good situation here at Sam Houston State with the baseball program, and a lot of that credit goes to Mark Johnson and the job he did here," Pierce said. "When you look at where we are located, I think we have a chance to really recruit well and bring in some very good players on a yearly basis."
Pierce has been the pitching coach for a Rice Owl team that has been one of the best in college baseball. In the last five years, the Rice pitching staff has been ranked in the top 30 in the NCAA in staff ERA, including a No. 4 national mark in 2007.
Pierce got 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.
"David Pierce has an excellent track record not only on the college level, but also in high school as well," Williams said. "He is very familiar with this area in terms of recruiting, especially Houston, and that was a big factor for us."
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 a coach in the United States Junior Olympic trials.
In his five years at Dobie, Pierce produced three all-state players, 36 all-district stars, and 10 players who went on to perform at the college level. His star pupil at Dobie was former college all-America Shane Nance, who went on to pitch the major leagues for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"Bearkat baseball has been honored by the number of outstanding candidates for the head baseball coach position," former head coach Mark Johnson said. "Bobby Williams was very diligent in this very tough decision. David Pierce will be an outstanding coach. His resume is very impressive, and he has a track record associated with winning teams both in high school and at the NCAA level. It will be exciting to watch Bearkat baseball continue to grow under his tutelage."
Other coaching stops were at Episcopal and St. Pius X, both high schools in Houston. He also worked as a batting practice pitcher for the Houston Astros from 1994 through 2000.
He rejoined the college coaching ranks at Houston in 2001. He helped coach the Cougars to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in his first season. In his second year, he helped take the team further with an NCAA Super Regional appearance, a game away from the College World Series.
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 (48) and his wife Susan have two children, Chelsea (21) and Shea (18).
Sean Allen joined Sam Houston head baseball coach David Pierce's staff as assistant coach in August 2011.
Allen comes to Sam Houston from Florida International University in Miami, Fla., where he an assistant for a program that has rolled up a 130-103-1 record during the past four years and earned NCAA Division I regional berths the past two seasons. From 2002 to 2007 he was an assistant coach at the University of Houston.
"Sean is one of the most respected young coaches in college baseball," Pierce said. "He brings a level of expertise to Sam Houston that we were looking for in an assistant coach. He has proven he can recruit and develop talent. His resume extends in many directions. He has coached hitters, infielders and pitchers with two strong programs and knows what it takes to create a winner."
Allen served as recruiting coordinator, pitching coach and infield coach at FIU, helping build a program that went from a 20-36 record his first year as an assistant in 2008 to a 40-20-1 mark last spring.
Florida International won the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship in 2010 and participated in the NCAA Division I regional in Coral Gables, Fla. Last year FIU earned an at-large NCAA berth and appeared in the Chapel Hill, NC, regional.
Florida International has been ranked as high as 20th in the national rankings. Allen coached the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year (Pablo Bermudez) and four All-Conference players. The team led the conference in earned run average.
While at the University of Houston, Allen served in a similar capacity working with the Cougar infielders and as the hitting coach. His teams were exemplary at the plate and on the diamond, helping the Cougars earn NCAA Tournament berths in 2002, 2003 and 2006, and advance to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2002 and 2003.
Under Allen's direction, the Cougars never posted a fielding percentage less than .962 and were ranked nationally in 2003, 2004 and 2006. He also played a major role in the offensive development of consensus All-American and later Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher, Brad Lincoln, who was named the National Player of the Year by four different entities in 2006.
In 2006, Allen's lineup hit 71 home runs -- the fifth-highest total in UH single-season history -- with All-Conference USA First-Team performer Matt Weston leading the way with 16 homers. The Cougars batted .314 and had a slugging percentage of .544 that season. Allen also mentored outfielder Travis Tully, who hit .430 in C-USA games.
Allen began his coaching career as a student assistant in 2002, working with the UH infield and serving as the team's first base coach.
A four-year letterman with the Cougars from 1998 to 2001, Allen ended his playing career as UH all-time leader with 542 assists in the field. In addition, his 192 assists in 2000 was the second-highest total in UH single-season history. During his playing days, the Cougars competed in an NCAA Super Regional and advanced to NCAA postseason play in three consecutive seasons. He earned All-C-USA Tournament honors as a junior.
A 1998 graduate of Carlsbad High School in Carlsbad, N.M., Allen was a three-time All-District 4-4A honoree and helped the team to four-straight state semifinal and a state championship in 1996. He was honored as the league's Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior.
Allen earned his bachelor's degree in sports administration from the University of Houston in 2001.
Philip Miller returned to Sam Houston State as an assistant to head baseball coach David Pierce in August 2011.
Miller, who served as an assistant at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La., the past two years, was volunteer assistant for former Bearkat skipper Mark Johnson for SHSU squads that won three Southland Conference post season tournament championship to advance to the NCAA Division I regionals.
"Philip is a tireless worker with expertise in all facets of running a Division I program," Pierce said. "He spent three years as Sam Houston as a volunteer assistant and, after two seasons at Northwestern State, returns as a full time assistant. I believe Phil is a hidden gem in the coaching field. He has great organizational skills on and off the field and will be a great contributor in many ways."
At Northwestern State, Miller served as the Demons' infield and defensive coach as well as first base coach. He assisted with the Demon hitters, recruiting responsibilities, and field maintenance. In 2009, he helped guide the team to a second place finish in the Southland Conference and advance to the Southland Conference Tournament.
The 2010 Demons finished second in the SLC in batting average (.322) and tied for fourth in fielding percentage (.963). The Demons placed a league-best seven student-athletes on the All-Southland Conference honor squad. Two Northwestern State position players were drafted in the 2010 MLB Amateur Baseball Draft.
During his stint with the Bearkats, Miller was outfield and first base coach and assisted with hitters, infielders and catchers. He coached three All-Americans, six All-Southland Conference outfielders and four Southland All-Tournament selections
The Kats made NCAA regional appearances at the University of Mississippi (2007) and Rice University (2008, 2009).
Miller played Northwestern State from 2002 to 2005. In those four years he was a member of two conference championship teams (2002, 2005). During his senior year, the 2005 Demon squad won the Southland Conference with 22 conference wins. That was also the season NSU earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regional in Baton Rouge.
A native of Clinton, Louisiana, Miller (28) graduated from University High School where he lettered in baseball, cross country and basketball. Miller earned his Bachelor's in Business Administration from Northwestern State in 2005 and his Master's in Education from Sam Houston State in 2010.
Miller is married to former NSU softball standout, Lyndsey (Gorski) Miller.