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Texas baseball coach Pierce out after 8 seasons before Longhorns move into powerhouse SEC

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas parted ways with baseball coach David Pierce on Monday after eight seasons in which the Longhorns won the Big 12 three times but made only three appearances in the College World Series.

The Longhorns’ best season under Pierce was in 2021, when they finished third at the CWS. Pierce was 295-162 with the Longhorns and 494-271 overall at Texas, Tulane and Sam Houston State.

He was hired at Texas in 2017 as just the sixth coach to lead the Longhorns since 1911. Texas has won six national championships but none since 2005. Pierce had two years left on a contract that paid him $1.2 million annually.

In statements put out by the school, Pierce and athletic director Chris Del Conte said they met after the season ended and agreed it was time to make a change.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to lead this program for the last eight years,” Pierce said. “It certainly is a time I will always cherish as a coach.”

Asked after Texas A&M lost 6-5 to Tennessee in the deciding game of the College World Series finals in Omaha, Nebraska, Aggies coach Jim Schlossnagle bristled at a question about media speculation he’s a candidate to replace Pierce.

“I think it’s pretty selfish of you to ask me that question, to be honest with you,” he told a reporter. “But I left my family to be the coach at Texas A&M. I took the job at Texas A&M to never take another job again. And that hasn’t changed in my mind. ... That’s unfair to talk about something like that. But I understand you’ve got to ask the question. But I gave up a big part of my life to come take this job. And I poured every ounce of my soul in this job and I gave this job every ounce I could possibly give it. Write that.”

Pierce had dismissed the team’s pitching coach after last season and took over those duties himself. The Longhorns’ team ERA ballooned from 4.18 to 4.91, its worst mark since 1999. Team ace Lebarron Johnson struggled as the Longhorns finished in the third place in the Big 12, were swept out of the conference tournament and failed to advance to a super regional for the first time since 2019.

Texas leaves the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference on July 1. The SEC is college baseball’s powerhouse conference. SEC teams have won four consecutive national championships and will add a fifth in a row when Tennessee and Texas A&M play in the CWS final Monday night.

“Coach Pierce and I had some time to visit about the year, the future of our program, where we are, and where we’re headed,” Del Conte said. “It was a difficult decision for us both, but we have mutually agreed that we should make a change.”

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AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports

Jim Vertuno, The Associated Press