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Ex-Arizona Wildcat Antonio Pierce to be named Raiders head coach

antonio-pierce-to-be-named-raiders-head-coach-arizona-wildcats-in-nfl Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the same week that Arizona football hired its new head coach, one of the program’s most successful alumni is close to becoming a permanent NFL head coach.

The Las Vegas Raiders are finalizing a deal to make Antonio Pierce their head coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Pierce coached the Raiders’ last nine games in an interim role after the team fired Josh McDaniels midway through the season. Under Pierce, the Raiders finished the year 5-4 including a Christmas Day win in Kansas City.

Pierce joined the Raiders organization in 2022 as a linebackers coach. Before that, he spent three seasons at ASU on Herm Edwards’ staff.

Pierce got his coaching start at Long Beach Poly High School in 2014.

The 45-year-old Pierce takes over a Raiders franchise that has not made a deep playoff run since the 2002 season, when the team lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.

Pierce is believed to be the first Arizona alum to become head coach of an NFL team. The Long Beach native played his senior season at Arizona, recording three sacks, 77 tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception, and one blocked kick.

Pierce went to have an eight-year NFL career playing for the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. He was a part of the Giants team that defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.