John Pierce will be inducted this year into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He is the all-time leading scorer in collegiate basketball history; a record that many think will never be surpassed. He was named to the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. As coach of the Franklin Road Academy boys’ basketball team he was busy this week with sub-state competition. But he was able to spend some time talking with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play basketball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from 1990 through 1994. Coach Don Meyer was the head coach. The assistant coaches were Ralph Turner, Mike Roller and Jason Shelton."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"My favorite memories on the court were going to the NAIA National Tournament, beating Tennessee State at Vanderbilt and breaking the scoring record."
What was it like to deal with all of the attention that surrounded you becoming the all-time leading scorer in college basketball history?
"Coach Meyer had a way of keeping us pretty focused on the task at hand. I was really focused on the team and trying to finish the season well as a team. A lot of people were talking about the record off the court like my family and friends and people I would see at school. I was thinking about it some. For the most part I was just playing. It didn't really feel like a big deal at all.
"Right when it happened they stopped the game and gave me a game ball. Coach Meyer immediately called us over and started talking about the next play. It was pretty funny. It was typical of Coach Meyer. He was always focused on the next thing. He really didn't think about what had just happened in any case. He was always ready to move on to the next thing."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"No doubt, it was Coach Meyer. From a basketball perspective he really taught me how to work hard and how to care for my teammates. Those are things that really go beyond the game of basketball.
"I have said it before that Coach Meyer not only impacted the way that I played and the way that I coach now, but he impacted the way that I parent and the kind of man that I am.
"In addition, I would also say my father (Dan). He never pushed me. But I always had the sense of how proud he was of me whether I played a great game or played terrible. That made me play even harder and added to my joy of playing."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I have a lot more favorite non-athletic memories of being at Lipscomb than I do athletic memories. Most of it revolves around the seventh floor of High Rise Dorm - hanging out with my teammates and my friends on the baseball and golf teams. All the athletes were on the seventh floor back in those days.
"We all hung out together and played all kinds of games. I can't tell you how many hours I spent making up games using a golf club and a golf ball. My roommate, Mark Campbell, and I would play jokes on the golfers who lived across the hall from us. It was fun clowning around with the guys."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"Caring for people. I think the people at Lipscomb enjoyed the basketball players and watching us play. But truthfully they also cared about me as a person, not just as a student or basketball player. They cared about how I treated other people around me."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"I had a lot of good professors. Truthfully, one of the great things about Lipscomb was the people I got to know. There were a lot of great professors. There are so many good people over there.
"Valery Prill was the French teacher. I was not a French major. I didn't take French in high school. But she was so much fun in class. That's the great thing about a liberal arts education. I would have never taken French. She was awesome.
"I was an English major. Dr. Lin Garner was an English teacher and she was really, really good. I enjoyed taking her classes. She was hard, but she was definitely fair. She liked me and we had a good relationship
"Dr. Edward Edgin in the English department was also great."
Where do you live now?
"We live in Brentwood, Tennessee."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"I work at Franklin Road Academy. I am the boys' varsity basketball coach. I also teach Bible. At private schools there are tons of little things everybody does, but those are my main areas."
What were your feelings about being named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame?
"I think it is a great honor. I was surprised. I didn't expect it to happen. I really had never thought about it. But, truthfully, as a coach I tell my guys I really don't believe in individual honors for a team sport. I think all individual honors are team honors.
"It is a tribute to not only Coach Meyer, myself and the program, but to all of the guys that I played with. I genuinely believe it is team honor. I am proud to have played for Coach Meyer and to have played at Lipscomb and to have had the teammates that I had.
"Those were the kinds of thoughts that were running through my head when they called. I was excited. My mother, Jan, my wife, Amber, and friends were all very excited. But at the time for me it was more of a time to remember and recognize my teammates and Coach Meyer as well."
Tell us about your family.
"My wife's name is Amber. We were high school sweethearts. She went to Vanderbilt and I went to Lipscomb. We have five children ranging from 15 to 2 years of age - daughters Lily and Ryan; a son, Johno; a daughter, Anna; and a son, Jody. It's a houseful. My wife is pretty amazing."
My email address is email@example.com.