Pierce learned his coaching under Graham at Rice when they took over the state of Texas as the best program, passing UT for a while, winning the CWS. He then went on as HC at Sam Houston for 3 years, getting the Bearkats into a regional every year. Then HC at Tulane for 2 years, getting them into a regional both years (uh, see a trend?). Then Texas, the two previous years under Augie Texas went 30-27 (11-13, 5th conf. , regional = 2 and Q) and 25-32 (10-14, 7th conf., no regional invite) --- not dumping on Augie but if he left a good squad with Pierce to pick up on the record doesn't reflect it. And in Pierce's first two years he went 39-24 (11-12, 6th conf., regional invite lost in final game 2-1, close to making a Super), then last year 42-23 (17-7 1st conf, regional host - won, super regional - won, CWS appearance). Pierce has proven himself at 3 programs in order --- Strong and Smart don't compare by any metric, particularly with regard to coaching results in Austin.