I did not know Vinson Pierce until last year’s junior high basketball season, and I must admit that when I first saw him from across the court, I wasn’t at all sure about things. He didn’t look like a basketball coach to me, and since I had a vested interest in the 8th grade team because of my grandson, Caden, I wasn’t at all sure that Coach Pierce was what we needed.
It took about a quarter of play for me to change my mind, and I’ve been singing his praises ever since! Today, Pierce is in his second year at Comanche ISD, and he no longer coaches junior high, having traded that whistle for the one that comes with the CHS varsity boys team and, needless to say, those of us who watched him coach last year are beyond excited to have him at the helm of the high school program.
Pierce grew up just down the road in Goldthwaite, Texas, and his wife, Stacy, was reared in Brownwood so when there was an opening in Comanche, the couple saw it as an opportunity to come home, a chance to get their kiddos back to their family roots.
“I love it!” he exclaimed. “It feels like home again. Our biggest goal was to get our kids back to this part of the country, the place where we were raised.”
Of course, here in the Jones casa, the name Goldthwaite is synonymous with Coach Gary Proffitt. Rickey and I followed his career for most of our adult lives, marveling often at the way he seemed to hold on to an old brand of football and make it work for the Eagles.
“Growing up in Goldthwaite, I was ingrained in football, but I absolutely love basketball as well. I just love competition. That’s why I played, and I still love to compete. I knew at a young age that I would be a teacher/coach. Whether it’s football, basketball, or solitaire by myself, I like to compete.”
He’s also a disciplinarian, or at least that is our opinion of the man. We watched him take a group of boys who were notorious for bringing what I call “street ball” to the court, and I wasn’t at all sure that there was anyone who could take control of their game, at least no one ever had…not since they were very little boys. Pierce did, and yet, the boys loved playing for him.
“My coaching philosophy is based upon capturing kids’ hearts. Do that and I think you will have them for life. It’s all about showing kids that you care for them. Once they know that, you have them.”
Although it sounded rather simple when he put it like that, Vinson Pierce’s road into education wasn’t totally straight.
“I’ve been married for almost thirteen years, and we have three children. I promised her dad before we married that she would be able to finish college. The plan was for me to continue to work in construction while she went to school, and then I would go.”
Of course, no matter how detailed our roadmap, life has a way of making its own plans. When the couple found themselves expecting their first child, Stacy began to want a break from school. And then it started raining…
“I couldn’t work because of the rain so I decided to go to school myself. We knew it would be heck for 2-3 years, but we decided that I would do it. When I finished, Stacy went back to school.”
Today, Stacy Pierce teaches the new head start program at Comanche Elementary School.
“There are already 20 students in the head start class, and they are looking to open another one,” the coach/husband/father told me proudly. “Stacy is the true definition of a coach’s wife. That means she supports me getting home at two in the morning from late games, and she comes to the games so I can see her and the kids more than I would otherwise. She is total support, and I would not be where I am without her.”
So where is he?
Today, Vinson Pierce is the assistant principal at Comanche High School as well as the head boys basketball coach. He goes to the junior high as often as possible, “making sure that all is well there as we work to build new athletes.”
He also began basketball workouts two weeks ago at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m. Of course, someone has to take the early shift since Comanche doesn’t have enough gyms to allow everyone to practice at the same time.
“I would say that our Comanche kids remind me of the kids we had when I was growing up in Goldthwaite. We have great kids here. They are small town, hometown kind of kids that will give us their all. These kids will fight for you, support you, and yes sir and no sir you.”
Under AD Stephen Hermesmeyer, Comanche coaches also stress stepping it up academically to all of their athletes. Unbelievably, so far the Indians have lost not a single boy to grades this year, an unbelievable feat in itself and one we certainly hope continues on throughout the year.
This Friday night, Coach Vinson Pierce and his Comanche Indians will take the court in Hamilton, Texas. Obviously, Rickey and I will be there if you’d like to join us! GO INDIANS!