Western Albemarle football coach Ed Pierce helped transform the Warriors from a single-wing throwback style squad under former coach Steve Isaacs to one of the area’s highest-octane spread attacks over the last five years, which included three straight playoff appearances with different signal-callers, starting with Stephen Schuler in 2009, continuing with Abbot Wallenborn in 2010 and on to sophomore breakout star Kent Henry this fall.
Someone else will have to take it from here.
Pierce resigned as the head football coach, informing his staff and team Monday before the school put out a press release Tuesday afternoon. Western athletic director Steve Heon will begin the search immediately, with a goal to have a new head coach in place by April 1. Pierce will continue his teaching duties at Western.
“I’d always said when the program is in really good shape that’s when I’d need to step away,” Pierce said. “More than anything else, there’s a winning attitude among those kids and they’ve done that, not me. I really enjoyed my time coaching Western.”
Western’s current string of three-straight Region II playoff appearances were the most consecutive berths in the school’s history. The Warriors went 33-22 over Pierce’s five years including 2009’s Jefferson District shared title with Goochland that included a 10-2 record. The Warriors produced Scrimmage Play’s defensive player of the year, Mitchell Parks, and first team quarterback Schuler during that campaign.
With Henry an emerging star and standouts like Tommy Mullin and Nic Drapanas among others slated to be back in the fold next fall, it’s certainly a program that’s in solid shape.
“From that perspective it was an easy decision,” Pierce said. “I hate to see coaches jump when the cupboard is bare.”
Western went 6-5 this fall in what many thought might be a rebuilding year with a sophomore starter at quarterback, and the Warriors took Monticello High down to the wire, falling 42-40 in the Region II quarterfinals.
Pierce was the junior varsity head coach before taking over the varsity.