Perry just added a champion to its staff.


Bryce Pierce was named the Bluejays’ next head football coach during Monday’s school board meeting. His first head coaching position, Pierce comes to Perry with two years of experience as an assistant coach at Independence, four years playing a range of positions for Luther College and he also played for Decorah’s 2012 undefeated state title team.


“My current job is to make kids proud to be an Independence Mustang and going forward, is to make kids proud to be a Perry Bluejay,” Pierce told the Perry Chief. “I think one of the really fun things about this profession is you have a chance to allow kids to have a great deal of school pride.”


In a written statement, Perry activities director Tom Lipovac expressed the school’s excitement to bring on a coach of such experience and vision.


“Coach Bryce Pierce’s standards and expectations are consistent with the core values of ‘The Bluejay Way’ and a ‘One Team’ educationally based student activities program,” Lipovac wrote. “He has a vision and program development action plan designed to guide students in personal growth and achievement as students, athletes, and teammates striving to be the best versions of themselves.”


In addition to coaching the football team, Pierce comes on to the high school staff as a physical education instructor in place of Scott Pierce who will step into Lipovac’s role starting in July. Bryce Pierce held the same role as a teacher for two years at Independence and was also the girls basketball coach for the previous season.


Regarding his role filling the football coach vacancy left by Matt Hardy, Pierce comes on board with a range of experience. During his time at Decorah, the Vikings won 25 games in a row. As the team’s starter in 2013, Pierce shepherded the team to an undefeated regular season as well.


At Luther College, he played quarterback, safety, wide receiver and punt returner. From that varied background, Pierce transitioned to an assistant role at Independence, serving primarily as a receiver/defensive back coach in addition to special teams oversight.


“On Friday night, I was on the headset with our head coach and up in the booth, calling plays, seeing how the defense was lining up and give him all my advice,” Pierce said of his in-game experience as a coach.


Moving forward with Perry, Pierce said he appreciates the infrastructure the team already has with Hudl Sideline services and end zone cameras to keep the team competitive in scouting and analyses. And coming from a background at Independence as a strength and conditioning teacher, he said he also hopes to keep building upon the groundwork that Scott Pierce laid, and continuing working with him to develop that program further.


With schools currently shut down due to the coronavirus, it’s uncertain when Pierce can be formally introduced to players and staff. Until then, he’ll continue his own prep work, drawing up formations and personnel ideas that he plans to email as PowerPoints to players and staff before meeting them in-person.


At Independence, he became familiar with a 4-4 Cover 3 base defense but won’t make a decision on the formation to run until he becomes familiar with the team’s capability and depth chart. As for the offense, Pierce said he has a run-first mentality he hopes to develop with the team.


Additionally, in hopes to build the program for the future, he said he plans to be very involved with the Perry Youth Football program that reemerged in 2019. Before Hardy stepped down, one major point was to not only get kids to love the sport but also get ready to be future Bluejays.


“The more kids that you can get excited about at the third, fourth and fifth grade level, I think you have a higher chance of retaining a lot more kids as they get into middle school and high school,” Pierce said. “And if you have more kids, the better your scout teams are. The better special teams are. You have a backup at every position, competing for positions on Friday night, and the level of practice goes up. Just just build a more successful program.”