|Position:||Pole Vault/Combined Events|
T.J. Pierce enters his sixth year as the pole vault/combined events coach for the Huskers after being promoted to an assistant position in 2013-14. Prior to that he was the program’s director of operations for eight years from 2005-13 and previously served as an assistant recruiting coordinator from 1998-2000.
In his five years guiding the pole vault and combined events, Pierce has seen 12 Husker pole vaulters crack the all-time NU top-10 chart and seven multi-eventers who have done the same. Additionally, Pierce’s athletes have combined for one first-team All-America honor and five second-team All-America awards.
During the 2018 season, Pierce helped Jared Seay and Cale Wagner into the Nebraska top-10 charts. Seay finished fifth at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in the decathlon with 5,634 points, which was good for No. 4 in Nebraska history. Wagner finished fifth in the decathlon during the outdoor season at the Spec Towns Invitational and is now 10th in NU history in the event.
Pierce guided Cody Walton to a record-breaking season in 2017, as Walton earned first-team All-America honors in the decathlon. Walton scored a Nebraska school record 7,937 points in the decathlon at the Spec Towns Invitational and carried his success over to the NCAA Championships, where he placed seventh with a score of 7,813. In the indoor season, Walton claimed the Big Ten heptathlon gold medal with a personal-best score of 5,672. Pierce also helped Steven Cahoy to the Big Ten outdoor pole vault title in 2017, which capped an outstanding career that included three Big Ten silver medals and two second-team All-America honors. On the women’s side, true freshman Andy Jacobs made an impressive collegiate debut with runner-up finishes at both Big Ten Championship meets. Jacobs vaulted into the top 10 on both NU’s indoor and outdoor charts.
Pierce led Cahoy, Craig Driver and Paula Andrie to Big Ten runner-up finishes in 2016. Andrie finished her career in the top three on both the indoor and outdoor all-time charts, and she went on to earn second-team All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Walton was third in the decathlon at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and also achieved second-team All-America honors. He also cracked the top five on NU’s all-time heptathlon and decathlon charts for the first time, and while representing Team USA was the runner-up at the NACAC U-23 Championships in El Salvador in 2016. Pierce also trained freshman multi-eventer Wagner, who won the decathlon at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships and finished eighth at the IAAF World U20 Championships.
In 2015, Cahoy enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in which he finished second in the pole vault at both Big Ten meets and earned second-team All-America honors at both NCAA Championships meets. Cahoy moved into third all-time on the NU indoor chart and tied for sixth on the outdoor chart. The Husker men had three scorers at both the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships. On the final indoor performance list, the Nebraska men had the Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 7 vaulters in the Big Ten.
Pierce made an immediate impact as an assistant in 2014. Christian Sanderfer was a second-team All-Big Ten pole vaulter at both the indoor and outdoor championships. Under Pierce’s guidance, Anne Martin finished third in the Big Ten indoor pentathlon with a personal-best 3,998 points and was third in the outdoor heptathlon with 5,430 points. She also finished her career with second-team All-America honors.
Pierce competed for four years as a pole vaulter at Nebraska, and he was a three-time academic all-conference selection. After completing his career as a Husker pole vaulter in 1997, he spent three seasons as an assistant recruiting coordinator at NU.
Pierce returned to his alma mater in 2005 after serving as the multi-events, horizontal jumps and pole vault coach at Kent State for four years, where he coached four All-America athletes. Prior to joining Kent State, Pierce served one season as the sprint, hurdles, vertical jumps and multi-event coach at Central Florida, where his athletes set 11 school records and earned 12 all-conference honors during his only season in Orlando.
Pierce received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Nebraska in 1996.