Late Colton High School football coach Robert “Ducky” Pierce will be remembered as a fighter, according to loved ones and players.
After suffering a stroke on October 13, further health complications led to his passing on November 29, according to a family source. He was 36 years old.
The community responded by holding a carwash fundraiser at Leno’s Rico Taco on Sunday to provide support for his family.
“It’s hard to grasp what has happened,” expressed Junior running back and center back Mario Fierro III. “But I chuckle when I think of the memories we had with coach. It’s sad to lose someone that is part of the team.”
Pierce grew up in San Bernardino and described himself as a “street kid” growing up, according to his ex-wife Susan. He initially struggled as a student at San Gorgonio High School, until he found football.
“He always mentioned how life was rough for him growing up on 4th Street,” Susan Pierce explained. “I think sports gave him direction. If he wasn’t playing football, he would have dropped out.”
However, Pierce graduated from San Gorgonio and pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology at Cal Baptist University in Riverside. His goal was to become a PE teacher–to have the same influence on young teenagers the same way he received guidance in his adolescence.
“Robert always loved football and giving back to the youth,” his ex-wife Susan said. “He saw athletics as an instrument for getting kids into school. I believe his true calling was to work with teenagers and encourage them to succeed.”
Athletic Director Scott Sutherland affirmed Pierce’s commitment to student success.
“He had a great influence on athletes, as far as academics,” Sutherland said. “ I think he had a far more reaching impact than any other coach. That’s where I think he will be missed the most.”
Fierro III recalls the times when players would rub ‘Ducky’s’ head for good luck before games. “He was a quiet person, but you can tell he loved football,” Fierro III said.
His mother, Dana Vera, said it was heartwarming to see the players get together to support their coach, despite the tragedy.
“To see your kid hurt over a coach demonstrates that Ducky did have an enormous impact,” Vera said. “I’m grateful that he was a part of my son’s life.”
Services for Robert Pierce are scheduled to take place on December 22 at the Calvary Chapel Red Barn, located at 1499 Baseline Street in San Bernardino. The service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.