GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Eddie Pierce was dedicated to his profession for 35 1/2 years, the last five at Gulfport High. He guided the Admirals to 38 wins, 22 losses, and three Region 4-6A titles. Pierce says he knew that the 2017 season would be his last.
" I always told myself when I got tired of going to practice it was time to get out, "said Pierce. "This past year I would catch myself looking at my watch or see how many periods we had left. I actually began the process last year,think about it, but I really wanted to go through this group of seniors."
Coach Pierce suffered a devastating loss when his wife, Sherry, passed away on April 10, 2016 following a five-year battle with breast cancer. She was 51-years-old. The following week he was back on the football field, holding spring practice.
Pierce said, "Sherry and I had time to talk about everything before she passed. And she was very frank about where she was going and wanted me to move on. So, that's what I tried to do. That's the way she would have wanted it and the people here were so gracious. I can't say enough about Michael Lindsey and Bryan Caldwell and Glen East and how they treated me during her illness."
WLOX Defensive Player of the Year Karlos Dillard, a senior linebacker for the Admirals got emotional when I asked him about the impact that coach Pierce had on his life.
Dillard said, "He took a chance on me and told me there's two linebackers in front of you but I feel like you have the greater potential and that motivated me and he struck by me. He's like a father to me and talking about him makes me emotional."
Eddie Pierce made a huge impact on many young men during his coaching career and says he'll always remember his time at Gulfport High.
"It has been the best five years of my life coaching."
John Archie has been hired to replace Pierce