Troy University baseball coach Bobby Pierce took the podium in front of many friends, family and professional peers at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery with vivid memories racing through his mind.
Those memories were of the 20 years he has spent coaching as part of a lifetime in baseball. Pierce was honored for his career accomplishments when he was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“This is a very humbling experience,” Pierce said. “I received the call from a very good friend of mine, Lee Gann, who is the baseball coach at Mountain Brook High School, and he told me that I had been voted into the Hall of Fame.”
What happened next for Pierce is what makes life beautiful. The coach sat and recalled many fond memories of the game, and what it has brought to his life.
“It was a very unique experience,” Pierce said. “As he was talking to me about it and telling me I would be inducted, I had images of my entire career, crisp and clear in my mind. In some cases, it was just things that may have been special to only me. It was an enjoyable experience.”
Many accolades have crossed this coach’s path during his career, but he said it’s the small things that make being a coach special. Those are the things he cherishes the most about the game.
“It’s just a pitch here and a pitch there that stick out the most,” Pierce said. “It’s about showing a player a few things or techniques and then ‘boom’ he gets result. It’s all about the satisfaction of teaching our players.”
In eight seasons at TROY, the coach has posted a 246-162 overall record. That has included two NCAA Regional appearances, a Sun Belt Conference Title, a Sun Belt Tournament Title, an Atlantic-Sun Conference Championship and a berth in the A-Sun tournament final. These particular accomplishments came in just the past six seasons.
Prior to becoming the head coach at TROY, Pierce started the baseball program at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and brought the program to a number one ranking among Division II programs in just six seasons.
He served five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama and as head coach at Chipola Junior College in Florida, which he led to five state tournament berths. He won the state championship with Chipola in his first season, and that was a memory clear and present as he recalled his successful career.
“It really just all came to me in chronological order,” Pierce said. “From 1983 at Chipola all the way up to now, and it was just a remarkable experience recalling those memories.”
Pierce is grateful to the many players, coaches and administrators who have helped pave the way for his special career, but the coach said the gratitude and thanks he owes to his family are the most important.
“My family has been so understanding and supportive of me in a profession that requires a lot,” Pierce said. “They take it all – the good, the bad and the ugly – and I owe all of my success to them. I want them to know that I appreciate them.”