Six years ago, Antonio Pierce was coaching high school football in Southern California.
Now he’s the interim head coach of an NFL franchise.
Pierce, an Arizona alum, was named the Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach after the team fired Josh McDaniels and general manager David Ziegler following a 3-5 start to the season. Pierce has served as the Raiders’ linebackers coach since 2022.
Pierce, 45-years old, will look to steady the ship in Las Vegas, where the Raiders are coming off a pair of double-digit losses, including a 26-14 defeat to Detroit on Monday Night Football.
For Pierce, the promotion to Raiders interim head coach encapsulates a meteoric rise in the football coaching profession.
Pierce coached Long Beach Poly High School from 2014-17. He then joined Herm Edwards’ staff at ASU, serving as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.
Pierce was one of several ASU assistants to leave the program in February 2022 after the program allegedly violated NCAA rules by hosting recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic. ASU self-imposed a bowl ban this season related to those violations.
As a senior at Arizona, Pierce played linebacker, recording three sacks, 77 tackles (10 for losses), two forced fumbles, one interception, and one blocked kick.
He went on to nine year NFL career with the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. Pierce was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006 with the Giants, and he won the 2008 Super Bowl with New York.
Pierce is the first former Arizona player to be serve as an NFL head coach.