Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A life of service

There are no words adequate to express what Coach Marion "Pete" Pierson's friendship has meant to me. I am a much better individual because of our friendship. I first met Pete after 1968 when my family joined First Baptist Church. We became close friends while we both taught young men in the senior high youth department in Sunday School. I was teaching sophomores, Pete was teaching juniors, and Milton Marcum was teaching seniors. I remember one Sunday morning Pete asked me to teach the combined classes of sophomores and juniors while he went to search for the members of our classes that were absent on that day as they had been before. He went to the men’s rest room located under the sanctuary. Upon finding
them having a party, he asked them to take a seat in the lounge area. He taught the Sunday School lesson in the men’s restroom lounge and after the class was over he explained to them that if they wished, the class would be known as the Rest Room Sunday School Class unless they wanted to return to their normal class on the following Sunday. All of them returned to their normal class the following Sunday.

Pete was also their softball coach in the spring and summer and if they did not attend church and Sunday School they were not allowed to play the next game. His integrity was amazing. He was more interested in building character than winning ball games.

He was my role model as I observed his service to others. We were greeters on the front door of the church together and he was instrumental in obtaining large umbrellas so that those getting out of cars in front of the church wouldn’t get wet, when it was raining.

We began visiting together in 1981 on Monday nights. I don't know how many visits we have made together but I have tried to estimate and the conclusion is based on 25 years times an average of 40 weeks a year. We would try to make at least three visits each Mon. night, however, some of the people we visited would not be at home. When we were visiting the sick in the hospital we would visit sometimes as many as eight. I estimate that we have made over 3,000 visits for FBC and Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have had many enjoyable times together. We fished together and many times I would go along to other schools when he was evaluating basketball officials for the SEC. I sometimes would be very critical of an official in my untrained opinion and Pete would inform me that the most important thing was that the official was in the right position to make the call and because of that he could see it differently from me.

Pete was truly an inspiration to me and I will greatly miss him.

-Grady Friday

(For those who are new to this site, please feel free to post lessons or memories in the comments section, or e-mail me, mjpierson@yahoo.com and I'll post them.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's in a name?

What can we add to the wonderful things already said about our Uncle Pete? I guess we will just have to think about his name and what he stood for. Uncle Pete will be greatly missed and has been greatly loved!

P: Put God first in his life
E: Everybody had a good friend in Uncle Pete
T: Taught more to his students and athletes than he ever knew
E: Enjoyed life to its fullest
P: Put others before himself
I: Inspired everyone around him to be the best person they could be
E: Enjoyed fishing, golf, football, baseball, softball. . . and all sports!
R: Really cared about everyone and their needs
S: Sincere and had that super smile
O: Obedient to God's word
N: Never said negative things about anyone or anything

Robi and John Walton
Columbia, TN

Saturday, January 24, 2009


(For those new to this site, it's set up so players, friends and family of Marion (Pete) Pierson can share the lessons they learned from Coach Pete and their stories and memories. What have you learned from Coach Pete, whether by word or example? Please let us know. To post, click on the comments section or e-mail me, mjpierson@yahoo.com. To view, check both postings and the comments section.)

On February 3, 1933, God sent a precious gift to the Pierson Family! That gift was our little brother we had wished for a very long time. Four little sisters excited and with much happiness welcomed our bundle of joy and Daddy named him MARION COLUMBUS PIERSON,…the name coming from our Grandfather Pierson!. We were so thrilled that we finally had a brother to “dote on and to spoil” the rest of his life….and he was always special to me. I know my Ed, Mama, Daddy and Pansye, were there to greet you!....and MARION, YOU HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN GOD’s HEART, AND A SPECIAL PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD, AND THAT MAKES YOU IRREPLACEABLE.
Mary Alma Pierson Wood, your loving sister

When I was 11 years old, I would stand outside at night and wish on the stars for a brother and on Feb. 3, 1933, he was given to us and what a blessing he was from that time on. He was so dear and such a caring brother, always calling to see if we were OK. He cared for me and my whole family. He was interested in all my children and grandchildren did. He never tired of my grandmother stories. In the summer he would open the back and call out, “Suster I have something for you” and be holding a big basket full of peaches, my favorite, and of course that wonderful smile because he knew he had made me happy. We loved him so and it was a joy to do things for him. And we are thankful to have had him for 75 years.
Minnie Bell “Suster”

Marion “Pete” Pierson became my brother-in-law in April 1942. All these years we have been friends and enjoyed many good times together. We both enjoyed fishing and the last time he carried me he caught a big 5-pound bass, and that big smile was bigger than ever and he was proud to show it off. We loved him very much and will miss him so much.
Norman Mills

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Here are posts sent to me by e-mail on Jan. 22… Thanks for all the responses. -Marla

(For those new to this site, it's set up so players, friends and family of Marion (Pete) Pierson can share the lessons they learned from Coach Pete and their stories and memories. What have you learned from Coach Pete, whether by word or example? Please let us know. To post, click on the comments section or e-mail me, mjpierson@yahoo.com. To view, check both postings and the comments section.)

I would like to share with you my favorite moment when I played for Coach Pierson.

Tuscaloosa High B-team basketball 1973-74 season. Coach Pierson's practices were tough. Especially during the preseason. He loved to have us run the stairs. The ones located next to the entrance to the gym lobby.

We were small, but a very good team. We had only lost one game going into a mid season Friday night game at Selma High School. We played hard that night but the ball just would not drop for us. Coach was on us at halftime. He knew we were struggling. We lost. Post game locker room was brutal. Long bus ride back to Tuscaloosa. No talking allowed. Further, we were to be at the gym at 8:00 Saturday morning. He promised us that we were going to run until our tongues touched the floor.

We all gathered at the gym well before 8:00. We quietly shot 100 free throws each. Then Coach said, "Let's go to the stairs". His promise was about to be delivered. Horrified of the torture that surely awaited us, we made our way out of the gym into the lobby in front of the concession stand. Coach said, "stop right here". He then went into the door by the concession stand. Up came the sliding door and before us on the counter of the concession stand appeared a spread of chocolate milk, dough nuts, fruit, cake, and cookies. We were completely stunned. He said, "we lost last night but not because of a lack of effort. I was hard on you. You men always give it your best. I want you to know that I love you all". That was coaching young men at its best. We did not lose again including a rematch victory over Selma.
Thank you. May God Bless,
Jeff Flanagan Hixson, TN Black Bears 1976

We have truly lost a good, decent man in Coach Pierson. The lives he has touched in so many ways will be a testimony to his life as a Coach and a Man.
We all knew he was a deeply religious man by the way he lived his life. When I played for him over 40 years ago, I knew that he expected only my best everyday we stepped on the court. I also knew that I along with my teammates were getting his best. Even though he was a strict task master, we also could feel his genuine caring spirit he had toward us. The memories of those days at THS under the tutelage of Coach Tarleton and Coach Pierson will be carried with us throughout our lives.
The lessons we learned from both of them such as Character, Responsibility, Accountability, and Integrity, even though those words might not have been mentioned, have served us well for many years.
I know I am a better man for having known and played for Coach Pete Pierson. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family as they deal with their loss. Because of our faith, we can truly say that it has been good this time but it will be even better next time.
God has truly blessed us by allowing us to have Coach Pierson in our lives.
Ken Hogue

One day many years ago - more than 40 - Pete called me and wanted to know if I could go with him the next Saturday morning to help him with a little job. I told him sure and the next Saturday morning we went to a house out in the country somewhere between Tuscaloosa and Moundville. He did not tell me what we were to do until we were almost there but we were to repossess a T.V. and antenna that had been bought at Sokols where Mr. Snider was credit manager. Only the wife was at home and Pete told her what we were there for and she told him OK. We got the T.V. out and then went up on the top of the house to get the antenna. We got it all loose and were coming down when the husband come up in his truck and wanted to know what we were doing. Pete told him and he was not to upset but not too happy either. We got everything in the truck and I told Pete I would wait for him in the truck and he could go in the house and get the papers signed. I told Pete that we
should get hazardous pay for jobs like this.
Don Norton

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21st

Here are posts sent to me by e-mail… thanks for all the kind words... -Marla

(For those new to this site, it's set up so players, friends and family of Marion (Pete) Pierson can share the lessons they learned from Coach Pete and their stories and memories. What have you learned from Coach Pete, whether by word or example? Please let us know. To post, go to the comments section or e-mail me, mjpierson@yahoo.com. To view, check both postings and the comments section.)

I so loved Pete Pierson. He always approved of me and that has been something that I have carried throughout my life. I was never any good at sport’s but he never did tell me that. He always liked the fact that I was a singer and he would always make me feel good about my music. Thank you for allowing me to have just a little bit of Coach Pierson. He was everything to me and then a whole lots more. I won't ever forget him.
Forever & A Day
Gary F. Spencer, Sr.
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Coach "Pete" a great friend to all he crossed paths with!My most memorable time with Coach "Pete" was in high school 67-69.Coach "Pete" was one of the leaders of the F.C.A.(Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Sixth period sports would start with required attendance in th F.C.A. meeting.One young man shared how Christ had changed his life after looking in "ALL" the wrong places.I accepted Christ in my heart as savior.Now I'm a winner with eternal life like Coach "Pete".I thank God for using Coach "Pete" in touching my life.When my time comes I will be looking for Coach "Pete" in heaven to thank him again.What a coach of life! Coach "Pete" we all love you as heaven is defined "Forever and Ever!"
In Christ, Bud Patton

Pete Pierson was a prince of a friend. I mean that in the most literal sense. I cannot say how blessed my life is because of his determined friendship and thoughtfulness through the years. I remember his visitation habits especially. On Monday night, he and Grady Friday visited religiously. I often tried to bust them up and tell Pete that I was going with Grady tonight. He never even faltered in his coach-like toughness and would always say, “Not a chance”. If he ever came before Grady, I would do the same to Grady who offered little or no encouragement that I would ever get to visit with Pete in this lifetime. They were always here, and if something prevented them from being here at 6:00 p.m., they would come early, get a name or two and go another time. He was a rare and wonderful servant.
Vial Fontenot

I played football, basketball and baseball at THS until an injury shortened my career. My brother Walter played basketball. Had not seen Coach Pete a long time, and in 2000 ...around Spring....I went to W.T.B.C. Radio station to pick up a gift I won, and Coach Pete was in glassed in 'Studio' with Jimmy Adams.....working on something, and he saw me...came flying out of the studio....bright smile....and made me feel great! He really was so gracious....very warm....and that meant so much to me!!!
My Sincere Condolences,
Dick Gary

Coach Pete Pierson was one of the first people I came to know and respect when I moved to Tuscaloosa in 1974. I was a soldier then, and the Army had sent me to The University of Alabama as Professor of Military Science. I had always been a Crimson Tide fan, and being assigned here was a dream come true. One of the first things I did was to name the Alabama Corps of Cadets the "Crimson Tide of the Army." The name alone helped us to become the largest Army ROTC program in the nation, and my Military Science Faculty, though not alumni of the University, came to love and support the Tide. We never missed a football or basketball game, and neither did the man named Marion "Pete" Pierson. He was always there, doing something for the Crimson Tide. He always had a certain look on his face that even in death I will always remember. It was the face of a man that, even if you didn't know him, you knew you could trust.
It didn't take me very long to learn that Pete Pierson was also a soldier -- a different kind of soldier. He was a soldier of the cross, and he carried that cross faithfully. For many years, he and his dear friend and brother-in-Christ, Grady Friday, spent their Monday nights visiting the homebound, the shut-ins, the sick, the lonely, and witnessing to the lost. Pete Pierson was a pillar of strength, a role model, molder of human character, a walking witness for Christ Jesus, and it is fitting that his name will be preserved in perpetuity through a scholarship endowed in his name. He will be missed by many, but there is a joy in knowing that Heaven awaits those of us who spend this life preparing ourselves to spend eternity with Christ Jesus. That's how Coach Pete Pierson spent his time down here. I'm glad I could call him my friend and brother-in- Christ.
In His Service,
Paul O'Mary

We are so sorry about dad and our friend Pete. He was a great person and always greeted you with a smile. He was so faithful to our Lord. We loved him…
Love and God bless,
George and Bessie Hamner

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What have you learned from Coach Pete?

When Marion (Pete) Pierson passed away on Jan. 19, 2009, we knew that his spirit, his faithfulness and ready smile, his graciousness, and his lessons, in sports and in life, would live on in countless players, students, family, friends and those who crossed his path and soon became friends.

We invite you to use this online space to share those lessons, stories and memories.

What have you learned from Coach Pete, whether by word or example? Please let us know. To post or to view what others have written, go to the comments section. If you or someone else would like to submit something about Dad via e-mail instead, please be in touch with me, mjpierson@yahoo.com, and I can post it. We plan to keep this blog open between now and March 20 and hope it will serve to pass on Dad's example and legacy and to honor all he's taught to us.