HAMPTON, Va. – Maurice Pierce, who for 10 years has served as Hampton University’s head women’s track & field coach, was named Director of Track & Field for the school, the Department of Athletics announced on Monday.
Pierce will be in charge of both the men’s and women’s cross country and track & field programs.
“I’m thankful,” Pierce said. “I’m grateful to (HU President Dr. William R.) Harvey for looking at the leadership I’ve shown over the years and offering me this opportunity.
“The timing is right for this.”Pierce
Pierce’s Lady Pirates have enjoyed much success during his tenure; most recently, Hampton swept the MEAC women’s cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field titles this past season.
During Pierce’s tenure, the Lady Pirates have won four MEAC cross country titles (2004, 2006, 2010-11), nine indoor track & field championships (2003-09, 2011-12), and eight outdoor track & field titles (2003-04, 2006-10, 2012).
Pierce has coached five NCAA champions while at Hampton; Francena McCorory won three NCAA crowns in the 400-meter dash (2009 indoor, 2010 indoor, 2010 outdoor), while Yvette Lewis took a pair of NCAA titles in the triple jump (2006 indoor, 2007 outdoor).
There have been 17 All-America selections under Pierce; most recently, four Lady Pirates earned All-America Honorable Mention honors this past outdoor season. Senior Benita Taylor earned the honor in the 800-meter run and 4x400-meter relay, while senior Claudia Calder, sophomore Emmy Fraenk, and freshman Cassandra Jones were named Honorable Mention in the 4x400-meter relay.
“My biggest challenge right now is trying to improve the overall team performances for men’s track,” Pierce said. “Historically, the men have had great individual talent (Jerome Mathis, Terry Thornton, Reggie Dixon) … now we have to use that success to build a whole team.”
Pierce will retain current assistant coaches Aldrin Gray and Damion Drummond; Gray will become the coordinator of men’s track, while Drummond will work with the distance and cross country runners for both teams.
Pierce said he offered former men’s assistant coaches Patrice Beasley and Lela V. Nelson positions on his staff, but they both declined to pursue other opportunities. In their stead, Pierce announced he would hire former Lady Pirates Kristal McGreggor and Calder as assistant coaches. McGreggor will work with the women’s team, coaching the throwers, while Calder will work with the multi athletes.
Former Pirates assistant Donald Bond – who for the last three seasons was the head track & field coach at Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Va. – will return on a part-time basis to help Pierce, while Sheldon Johnson will also assist on a part-time basis, helping with the men’s throwers.
Prior to coming to Hampton, Pierce served as an assistant coach at Maryland Eastern Shore (1998-99), and as a volunteer women’s assistant coach at Norfolk State (1995-98). While at UMES, Pierce coached two MEAC champions.
While at Norfolk State, Pierce was instrumental in helping the Spartans win two CIAA championships and coached over 15 CIAA champions, four NCAA Division II qualifiers and one Olympian (Rachelle Thomas, who competed in the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays for the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1996).
Pierce is also considered one of the top hurdle coaches in the world. He coached David Payne, who competed in the 110-meter hurdles at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and won a silver medal with a time of 13.17.
Payne was the first athlete coached by Pierce to win an Olympic medal.
Pierce also coached former Hampton star James Carter as a professional hurdler from 2000-04. Carter placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2004 Games in Athens. During the four years Pierce coached Carter, he made two Olympic teams, three World Championships teams, one World Cup Team, and one NACAC U-23 team.
Carter was ranked in the top 10 in the world all four years.
In 2004, Pierce also coached Rachelle Boone-Smith on Team USA. Boone-Smith placed second at the 2004 U.S. Indoor Championships and made the World Indoor Championships Team. In 2004, Boone-Smith placed fourth in the 200-meter finals at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Carter and Payne have each become World Champions under Pierce; Payne was an outdoor champion in 2007, while Carter held the honor in both 2001 and 2003. Boone-Smith was an indoor champion in 2005.
Pierce was also an assistant hurdles coach for the USA National Team at the 2011 Pan Am Junior Championships, which were held July 22-24, 2011 in Miramar, Fla.
Pierce is a 1996 graduate of Norfolk State, where he was a member of the Spartans track team in 1992-93, and 1995. He currently serves as the chair for USATF Virginia Association Women Elite Athletes. He is a native of Newport News, Va. and is married to Cantrese Pace-Pierce, a 1998 graduate of Hampton University.
They live in Newport News with their two daughters, Alyssa and Aniyah.
“Goal number one,” Pierce said, “Secure all the local talent, particularly on the men’s side.”
Courtesy: Hampton Athletic Communications