Texas baseball’s David Pierce reflects on 400th career win as head coach

Hunter Dworaczyk, Sports Reporter

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the April 29, 2022 flipbook.

Baseball has been simple for Texas head coach David Pierce.

Pierce, who picked up his 400th career victory as a head coach on Tuesday, said the game allows him to stay in the moment and be at peace.

“After being in the business world, (coaching) really opened my eyes to the fact that I don’t have to search for what I want to do,” Pierce said. “It made it really easy to go through economic issues, struggles or the perspective of life. So it’s been simple for me.”

Pierce has accumulated a career record of 400-216 and is in his 11th season as a head coach. Prior to taking the Texas job in June 2016, he was the head coach at Sam Houston State and Tulane. 

When Pierce became Sam Houston’s head coach in 2011, the Bearkats had not won an outright conference championship since 1989. Under Pierce, the Bearkats won three straight conference championships.

Pierce had similar results at Tulane, where he brought the Green Wave its first conference title since 2005 in his second season. Disregarding the canceled 2020 season and the current unfinished regular season, Pierce has coached teams to six regular season conference championship wins in his nine full seasons as a head coach. 

After losing his father at a young age, Pierce said he was saved by the coaches he used to play for. Pierce said he uses this personal experience to guide how he interacts with his players, focusing more on relationship building than strictly wins.

“If you do it like that, I think the wins follow suit,” Pierce said. “If you go at it just to win, I think you lose sight of the relationships and the joy of the day-to-day.”

Graduate transfer infielder Skyler Messinger credited the coaching staff for its high standard of expectation during Thursday’s media availability and said he felt at home pretty quickly because of the culture in the Texas locker room. 

“The guys and the culture here align well with who I am and it was really great to come in and have a whole locker room of like-minded individuals,” Messinger said. “I can’t speak enough of the culture here. The working culture has been something that I’ve loved being a part of.”

Pierce often preaches for his players to stay in the moment and wants them to think about the next pitch, something that can be hard to do with a top-ten matchup scheduled for the upcoming weekend.

Texas is not denying the importance of this weekend’s series against No. 8 Oklahoma State: the stakes involve the No. 10 Longhorns’ hopes for a Big 12 title and likely their postseason seeding. Yet, redshirt sophomore Douglas Hodo III said the team cannot worry too much about the pressures of playing for its seeding. 

“It’s something you have to be aware of but not something you have to dive deep into,” Hodo said. “If you’re consumed by that, you are not playing to win or playing to get better.”