GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Meridian ended the football season for Gulfport Friday night with a 21-14 overtime victory over the Admirals. Besides losing the game, the Admirals also are losing their head football coach.
Eddie Pierce officially announced after the game that he would be retiring on December 29 after coaching for 35 1/2 years.
"It's time to move on, "said Pierce. "I told my coaches and the administration last spring that the 2017 season would be my last. I wanted to coach this senior class because they are a great group of kids."
Coach Pierce said his decision to retire is something he had considered the last couple of years. He said he worked for a great administration at Gulfport High and wanted to personally thank them for being so helpful.
Pierce said, "I had a great career and I will remain on the coast and will continue to live in Gulfport. They are just wonderful people."
Eddie Pierce had to deal with a personal loss when his wife lost her battle to cancer, almost two years ago.
Gulfport Athletic Director Bryan Caldwell said he wasn't shocked by tonight's announcement by Pierce. He said Pierce had notified them that he was going to step down.
Caldwell said, "Eddie did a great job and we appreciate everything he's done at Gulfport."
Caldwell said that Gulfport will begin a coaching search and will open it up for applications.
"We will hire the best coach who will fit what Gulfport is looking for, "said Caldwell.
In five years at the helm of the Admirals football program, Coach Pierce compiled a 38-22 record and captured three Region 4-6A titles. He served as head coach at Jones Junior College for six years and was the head coach at Mendenhall for one season.
So,what will Pierce do in retirement? "I will do a little fishing and a little mowing of the grass and just take it easy and enjoy my retirement, "stated Pierce.
We wish Coach Pierce the best. He was a gentleman every time we interviewed him over the past 5 1/2 seasons. His players respected him and he will be missed.
As mentioned earlier, Pierce will retire and live in Gulfport. Pierce said, "This is home."