Original article (Jada Pierce Tabbed as Women’s Basketball Head Coach) on the Niagara University athletic website purpleeagles.com.
Jada Pierce, who has 18 years of collegiate coaching experience at the Division I and II levels, has been named the eighth head coach in the history of the Niagara University women’s basketball program. Pierce will be formally introduced at a press conference on campus in early July.
“We are very excited to welcome Jada Pierce to the Niagara University community,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “Not only does she bring a breadth of national coaching experience to Niagara, but she has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to developing young women for life beyond their college basketball careers. Because Jada also has a track record of working with her teams on service projects to assist others, she will be a great ambassador for our Catholic and Vincentian Mission and will be a tremendous asset for our university and local community.”
Pierce has built a reputation as a dynamic player developer while creating effective defensive schemes throughout her coaching career with stops as an assistant at programs in the Atlantic 10, Patriot League, Northeast Conference, MAAC and America East as well as head coaching experience at the Division II level.
Pierce has coached 23 all-conference players, three defensive players of the year, 17 all-academic honorees, two WNBA players and assisted four programs to five NCAA Tournament berths.
“Jada Pierce emerged from an impressive list of qualified applicants to lead our women’s basketball program,” said Director of Athletics Simon Gray. “She has a passion for the student-athlete, dedication and a commitment to developing young women outside of the basketball arena. She is incredibly well connected in the basketball industry and has won everywhere she has been including making several NCAA Tournament appearances. She has handled all duties as a top Division I assistant, brings experience as a head coach and her positive energy is contagious. She will fit the Niagara University mission because of who she is as a person.”
Pierce arrives to Niagara University from Saint Joseph’s University where she served as an assistant coach for three seasons. Pierce was a part of a winning program at St. Joe’s where the Hawks made two NCAA Tournament Appearances (2013, 2014), won two Philadelphia Big 5 titles (2014, 2015) and won the 2013 Atlantic 10 Tournament.
At St. Joe’s Pierce was involved in on-the-floor coaching at individual workouts, practices and games, was responsible for point guard development, and assisted in all aspects of recruiting. Pierce coached the 2012-13 Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year Chatilla van Grinsven, who signed with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun in 2013, and played a strong role in the success of guards Natasha Cloud (drafted by the Washington Mystics in the 2015 WNBA Draft) and Erin Shields (two-time A-10 Al-Conference honoree and two-time I-AAA scholar-athlete).
Prior to St. Joe’s, Pierce served as an assistant at the United States Military Academy at West Point (2010-12), Mount St. Mary’s (2009-10), University of Massachusetts (2007-09), Marist (2006-07), Massachusetts-Lowell. (2001-04), and the University of Delaware (1999-2001).
Pierce gained head coaching experience at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, an NCAA Division II program, from 2004-2006. During her tenure with the Wolves, Pierce had six players garner scholar-athlete honors, with one player earning all-conference accolades, while coaching the conference leader in rebounds and blocks.
“I would like to thank Father Maher and Simon Gray for providing me with such a great opportunity,” Pierce said. “It’s an exciting time to be at Niagara University with all the growth and advancement within the university and the athletic department. Becoming a Division I head coach is a dream come true. A great foundation has been laid and I’m excited to take the Purple Eagles to new heights!”
Pierce played collegiately at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Playing for the Golden Rams from 1992-97, she helped West Chester to the program’s first NCAA Division II Tournament berth as a senior co-captain during 1996-97 season. A two-sport standout at Central High School, Pierce was a four-year letterwinner on the court, earning Philadelphia Public League All-Star honors as a sophomore and junior (1990, 1991) and First Team Philadelphia All-Public League honors in 1992. Averaging 21 points per game as a senior, she set Central’s all-time scoring record, while her only season on the track and field squad saw her earn All-Public League honors in the high jump. Pierce became the first female be inducted into the Central High School Athletic Honor Roll in 2001.