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Timothy O. Pierce Sr., swimming coach

Timothy O. Pierce Sr. was a swimming coach and retired English teacher at Loyola Blakefield.
Timothy O. Pierce Sr. was a swimming coach and retired English teacher at Loyola Blakefield.

Timothy O. Pierce Sr., a swimming coach and retired English teacher at Loyola Blakefield, where he headed its middle school, died of cancer Oct. 16 at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The resident of the Hampton section of Towson was 71.

He was a co-founder of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club and trained a generation of Baltimore's swimmers.

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"He truly cared for the whole person. He was interested in your swimming, but he was more interested in the whole person," said John A. Cadigan, a friend and coaching colleague who lives in Lutherville. "He was a leader in the swimming community. He was a great administrator too and was generous with his time."

Born in Baltimore and raised on Robin Hood Court in Towson, he was the son of Edwin Holbrook Pierce and Emily Stanton Pierce. He was a 1960 graduate of what was then Loyola High School and earned an English degree at what is now Loyola University Maryland, where he also earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling. He swam for teams at both schools.

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Mr. Pierce taught at City College for three years and joined the faculty of Loyola Blakefield in 1967. He remained there until he retired in 2005.

"Tim was intense in anything he became involved in," said a colleague, Joseph Brune, the former Loyola football coach who lives in Rodgers Forge. "He jumped in with both feet, swimming at first and then by embracing new technology. As a teacher, he was super-prepared for every class he taught. He was also loyal and stuck by his friends."

According to a sketch provided by Loyola Blakefield, Mr. Pierce served the school for 38 years. He taught English, was a swimming coach, a guidance counselor, admissions head, head of the middle school for 18 years and the director of technology. He was the 1991 recipient of the school's highest honor, the Blake Medal. He was also named to its Athletic Hall of Fame.

"Tim Pierce was a fair man. He was thorough and precise," said Keith Shertle, a Loyola Blakefield teacher who lives in Parkville. "As recently as three weeks before he died, he was sitting on the pool deck."

Mr. Pierce oversaw the purchase of timing equipment and began funding travel for nationally ranked swimmers from Maryland. He compiled a guidebook for swimming directors. He was elected to the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986.

"Tim Pierce epitomized the desired product of a Jesuit education," said the Rev. Thomas Pesci, former Loyola Blakefield president, who lives in Scranton, Pa. "He was a man of deep and quiet faith who to his dying breath trusted in the Lord. Tim was also among the first to recognize and promote the value of computer science while cherishing the importance of the human touch."

In 2006, the American Swim Coaches Association awarded Mr. Pierce Level V Certification, emeritus.

His swimmers affectionately called him "Pierce Daddy." His teams won 20 high school titles, including the 1980 National Prep School championship. He also coached 55 high school All American swimmers.

His teams also won seven National Catholic Championship titles.

He left the North Baltimore Aquatic Club in 1984. That same year, he left coaching at Loyola to head the middle school. In 2003, he returned to coaching swimming. He retired in 2005 and returned to the school's camp as a volunteer.

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Nov. 9 at Loyola Blakefield, Chestnut Avenue in Towson.

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Survivors include his wife of 29 years, the former Katherine Karen Preis; a son, Timothy O. Pierce Jr. of Baltimore; two daughters, Cynthia Bowers of Cockeysville and Kimberly Pierce of Timonium; three sisters, Priscilla B. Cochran of Washington state, Joanna Emily Matos of Annapolis and Elizabeth Pierce of Towson; and three grandchildren.

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