(PAW PAW) – A man synonymous with Sturgis High School athletics has passed away.
Harley Pierce died Sunday at Maple Lake Assisted Living in Paw Paw. He was 93 years old.
Coach, as he was called by many people around Sturgis, was born in 1926 and graduated from Comstock High School in 1945. He played football, basketball and baseball and earned 10 varsity letters. He then went to Kalamazoo College, and was a member of the football team for four years, where he eventually was named captain and won the Outstanding Lineman
Pierce was a teacher and coach for 36 years in Plainwell, Sturgis, Casa Grande, Arizona, Zeeland and then back to Sturgis.
While in Sturgis, Pierce coached varsity football and boys tennis. During his tenure, his football teams won eight league championships while the 1968 football team was the Class B State Runner Up. Then in 1969 they were named the Class B State Champions.
On the tennis court, Pierce's teams won 27 league championships, 23 Regional championships and six Class B State Championships, including five straight from 1967 to 1971. The 1960 and 1974 tennis teams were Class B Runners Up.
Pierce has the distinction of coaching two state championship teams in the same school year, the 1969 boys football and the 1970 boys tennis team.
Pierce received several honors. He was the Class B Tennis Coach of the Year in 1978 and the National High School Tennis Coach of the Year in 1979. He was the Michigan High School Football Coach of the Year in 1969 and in 1974. He was elected to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall Of Fame in 1983; the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall Of Fame in 1983; and the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association Hall Of Fame in 1986.
He was elected to the Comstock Athletic Hall Of Fame in 2010 and to the Sturgis Athletic Hall Of Fame in 2011.
Visitation will be Friday from 4 until 8 PM at the Rosenberg Chapel in Sturgis. Funeral services will be Saturday at the Rosenberg Chapel at 11 AM.
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